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2016
Textiles amérindiens. Regards croisés sur les couleurs

Emblematic and material color in the Paracas-Nasca Transition

Ann H. Peters

Résumés

Depuis les premières analyses de Rebeca Carrión en 1930, des utilisations emblématiques et énigmatiques des combinaisons de couleurs sur les textiles Paracas Necrópolis ont été proposées. Tandis que d’autres chercheurs ont aussi identifié des variations de couleur parmi les figures répétées sur les grands mantos, Anne Paul a contribué à l’analyse par une documentation exhaustive et a révélé la répartition d’autres types d’artefacts et éléments de style parmi les dépôts funéraires. Je souhaite compléter le travail de Paul en identifiant les combinaisons d’aires de couleurs dominantes qui communiquent à longue distance, et en considérant le jeu des contrastes largement visibles parmi les couleurs de fond, les niveaux de variabilité des décors perçus par cette approche, les messages presque invisibles des structures d’entrelacement et de la composition des fils. Tandis que la majorité des études précédentes a été menée sur des ensembles de textiles tardifs en relation avec la collection de textiles Nasca, je centre mon analyse sur les fardos anciens et sur la relation entre les textiles associés aux traditions céramiques Topará et Paracas. La comparaison des styles prédominants et exceptionnels dans chaque contexte mortuaire de Wari Kayan avec ceux des textiles des tombeaux d’Ocucaje révèle des schémas de couleur qui témoignent des identités sociales et des relations d’échanges qui s’expriment dans les rites funéraires.

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I thank members of the Project "Practice in Life, Presence after Death: Style and Substance at the Paracas Necrópolis". This study was made possible by colleagues at the American Museum of Natural History, the Textile Museum, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Harvard University), the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú, the Museo Inka (Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad de Cusco) and the Museo Regional de Ica “Adolfo Bermudez Jenkins.” Analysis has been supported by grants from the Pre-Columbian Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard University) and the National Science Foundation (USA). An early version was presented at a 2007 symposium organized by Penny Dransart and George Lau at the Sainsbury Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Dialogue with Ann Rowe and Sophie Desrosiers has been vital to the further development of this study, presented at the VI Conférence Internationale sur les Textiles Amérindiens, held at the Musée du Quai Branly in 2013.

The background

  • 1 The site and mortuary contexts are described and illustrated in Tello 1959, Tello and Mejía 1979, T (...)

1This study emerges from textile studies and analysis of the artifact assemblage and contextual information for each documented mortuary context of the Necropolis of Wari Kayan at the Paracas site on the south coast of Peru, dating from about 200 BC to about 200 AD.1 Following Julio C. Tello, I use the term Paracas Necrópolis to refer to an artifact complex and mortuary tradition defined by features that result from a range of consistent practices in the treatment of the dead, both upon their demise and in subsequent rituals. The pattern is exemplified by graves archaeologically excavated in the Necropolis of Wari Kayan in 1927-1928, by a team directed by Tello. However, a similar mortuary pattern has been recorded in smaller clusters of burials on Cerro Colorado and the Arena Blanca sector to the north (Figure 1), and may be identified elsewhere in the region. I will compare textiles from Wari Kayan mortuary contexts with those from contemporary tombs in the Ocucaje basin of the lower Ica valley, and mention examples from the “Cavernas” tombs at Paracas and the Cahuachi site in the Nasca drainage.

Figure 1 – Sectors of the Paracas site and its location on the neck of the Paracas Peninsula. Location of the site on the South Coast of the Central Andes in relationship to the contemporary centers of Ocucaje and Cahuachi.

Graphics by A. H. Peters, composition by E. Tomasto-Cagigao.
Google Earth composite satellite images used with permission.

This analysis in the context of Paracas Necrópolis color studies

  • 2 Carrión 1931.
  • 3 Stafford 1941; Frame 1986, 1991, 2004; Paul 1998, 2008.

2In an article based on her doctoral dissertation,2 Carrión presented an analysis of “color groups” among the mantles from the first set of elaborate Paracas Necrópolis mortuary bundles studied in 1927-29. She provides the first systematic definition of the range of garment types and other objects present in them and discusses matched sets of garments with nearly identical layout, color scheme and imagery. Also, Carrión does something no other researcher has attempted: she characterizes recurrent combinations of major color fields, the contrast between the color of woven cloth and the dominant or background embroidery. She limits her sample to mantles, recovered and conserved more consistently than other types of garments. Carrión then charts sequences and patterns in the colors combined in figures repeated along the borders and in some cases arrayed across the central cloth. The study of color repetition and figure direction has been subsequently explored by Cora Stafford and analyzed in greater detail by Mary Frame and Anne Paul.3 The complex and variable patterns have been characterized as metaphors for textile structures, exploration of the potential patterns of symmetry, and attempts to work out all possible variations of a given number of color combinations.

  • 4 Wobst 1977.
  • 5 Dwyer 1979; Paul 1990. This discussion uses their phase terminology: “Early Horizon” (EH) 10A and 1 (...)

3To complement those studies, this analysis considers the relationship between predominant color combinations, other features of style and social identity. Carrión’s characterization of dominant colors corresponds to what has been called communicative style,4 large color areas of the woven cloth and the embroidery that can be “read” at a distance. Reviewing Carrion’s sample from twelve elaborate male gravelots, I hoped to find color sets dominant in one gravelot and those recurrent in several, and evaluate evidence to support a model of emblematic use of color sets associated with different social roles, or different social groups, based on a correlation with either iconography or style. The earliest gravelot in Carrión’s sample is the complex mortuary bundle WK 421, created at the dawn of the Early Intermediate Period according to a chronology developed by Dwyer and applied to mortuary bundle sequence by Paul.5 Most of Carrion’s sample is from later burials and textiles with Nasca-related imagery, though she does not discuss the relationship between color and other aspects of style. In restudying earlier gravelots, I find that the color combinations that predominate in early textiles and gravelots designated as “Early Horizon 10”, contemporary and interacting with late Paracas, differ from the range of combinations that recur in these later, more Nasca-related gravelots. Differences in the set of colors that visually dominate each garment placed in a mortuary bundle do correlate with other aspects of style.

4In the process, new research questions emerged: (1) What is the range of natural fiber colors, their role in design and their relationship to dyed fiber colors, both in production practices and in our perception of the result? (2) How are hues and values grouped, contrasted or substituted? Can patterns observed be evidence for “emic” color categories that were meaningful to the textile producers, whether as part of a relational system or as motivated references to objects and agents of their world? (3) What relationships can be traced between dominant color fields, color combinations, and other features of style? (4) What color combinations characterize contemporary assemblages defined as Paracas Cavernas, Ocucaje, Paracas Necrópolis or early Nasca? I explore these questions here in an analysis focusing on Paracas Necrópolis mortuary contexts spanning the Paracas-Nasca transition, and a series of comparisons with artifacts ascribed to contemporary tombs, although less well-documented, excavated at “Cerro Max Uhle” (Cerro Córdoba) in the Ocucaje basin.

Analytic framework and sample of Necrópolis textiles studied

  • 6 Tello and Mejía 1979, fig. 86, p. 318 and fig. 87, p. 323; Paul 1990, map 3.3, p. 27 and map 3.4, p (...)

5This diagram of the Necropolis of Wari Kayan6 shows the distribution of male and female mortuary contexts for which we now have information on artifact style and color (Figure 2). Information on textile assemblages is based on archival data for about 150 full mortuary bundles studied in the field and laboratory, and object studies from 60 that have been catalogued and are available for research. To critically assess the proposed correlations between style and chronology, I define style groups among textile artifacts based on production features including fiber and yarn characteristics, interlace structures, garment components and proportions, and techniques used to create imagery, decorative components and finishes. Garment forms are categorized based on structure, proportions and techniques and their distribution among the mortuary contexts provides independent criteria for re-evaluation of the Dwyer-Paul chronology, originally based on analysis of embroidery styles and imagery.

Figure 2 – Diagram of the relative location of excavated sectors and tombs of the Necropolis of Wari Kayan, showing the levels of information available for each mortuary context.

Graphic by A. H. Peters, based on diagrams in Paul (1990) and Tello and Mejía (1979) and archival texts and diagrams.

  • 7 O’Neale 1937.

6The results support the Dwyer-Paul temporal sequence, with some modifications important to this analysis. Early burials at Wari Kayan are contemporary with Ocucaje 10 and late Cavernas burials, as defined by a wide range of shared artifact types and styles. They postdate the “Early Horizon” as defined by Chavín influence in the central Andes, and can better be defined as the initial phases of the Paracas-Nasca transition. Later burials at Wari Kayan are increasingly dominated by Nasca-related imagery, on a diverse array of garment forms which increasingly include forms analogous – but not identical – to those documented from Kroeber’s 1926 excavations at Cahuachi.7 While the image styles and iconography resemble that painted on ceramics categorized as Nasca 1 and 2, they are also analogous – though not identical – to that on some ceramics categorized as Nasca 3. Differences may be due to social distinctions among producer groups and different ritual contexts, as well as change over time.

  • 8 Peters and Tomasto-Cagigao 2016.

7Social difference and symbolic intent appear to be primary factors behind diversity within and among the mortuary assemblages. Contemporary assemblages are each dominated by a somewhat different set of garment forms and styles. Temporal change is related to cultural change, indicated by shift in the types of artifacts that structure, ornament, accompany and mark the mortuary bundles. This includes the appearance of new garment systems.8 Therefore, while the Dwyer/Paul phase designations do roughly correspond to a temporal order among the mortuary bundles, the features that define them are a product of social transformations rather than time per se. Within an analytic framework based on categories of artifact types, style groups, garment systems and predominant “home”, minority “visitor” and exceptional “foreign” styles in each mortuary context, I chart visually dominant color combinations among textile artifacts in early Wari Kayan mortuary bundles and compare them with contemporary textiles from Ocucaje.

8I use generalized color terms based on hue, value and metaphor and classify colors in relative terms, defining hues used in contrasting pairs or groups. The attempt to record exact hues using a color chart can give a false sense of precision, because yarn appearance is affected by lighting conditions, fiber deterioration, and color loss due to exposure in ancient times and recent exhibits. Some of the dyes on cotton or camelid fiber appear to be faded or oxidized, and may have changed since Carrión observed them as the mortuary bundles were ‘dissected’ and the textiles initially cleaned and mounted between 1927 and 1957. I consult historic records and older images, and examine areas shielded from light. In this process, I have noted the diversity among natural fiber colors and their contribution to the appearance of dyed yarns.

Natural fiber colors and their relationships to dyed colors

Natural and dyed cotton

  • 9 Vreeland 1999.

9Many natural colors of cotton fiber were cultivated and used in ancient Andean textiles. The different hues are seldom described in archival documents, apparently because cotton was considered “white” by the archaeologists, and darker hues were often described as evidence of deterioration in the approximately two thousand years since these garments were produced. However, based on observations of a female mortuary bundle opened with Mejía in 1975, textiles from later periods and colored cottons preserved by indigenous communities of Lambayeque and the Amazon region, Vreeland has proposed that colored cottons were important throughout Andean prehistory.9

10Undyed cotton is used for plain weaves, knotted netting and binding cords throughout the Wari Kayan mortuary bundles. Natural cottons exhibit an array of hues ranging from cream-white to beige, tan and silvery light browns, vicuña-like ochres and medium browns. Subsequently, areas of the cloth may have been darkened and bleached as part of processes of fiber deterioration or exposure to sunlight. Natural, undyed cotton is used for large wrapping cloths, artifacts of knotted netting, and stitching and binding of many artifacts, including weapons, feathered ornaments, and even cracked or broken ceramic vessels. Large embroidered mantles and male or female personal garments are composed of one or several four-selvage woven panels of cotton or camelid hair. Yarns similar to those used in weaving are used for stitching and finishes. Natural cotton predominates in garments in EH 10 Wari Kayan contexts, while both natural and dyed cotton occurs among garments in Ocucaje and are prevalent in EIP 1A and later mortuary bundles at Wari Kayan.

  • 10 Peters 2014a.

11The large wrapping cloths that create the shape and bulk of each Wari Kayan mortuary bundle seal off inner layers and support display layers. Each has been composed of two or more panels of natural cotton with consistent color and fiber characteristics, as well as similarities in spin, ply and weave density, stitched together with similar yarns. For a display layer, the bundle is placed on a new wrapping cloth, which is stitched in place to create a large bag-like container, is then folded and formed with zigzag stitching and bound at the top to create a false head, typically ornamented with headdress elements. In these cases, yarns like those used to weave and seam the cloth usually have been plied together to create the binding cords. Typically, different wrapping cloths in contrasting natural colors construct different layers of a single bundle (Figure 3). For this reason, I propose a vertical integration of production in which several different textile producer groups involved in perennial cotton horticulture each propagated, spun and wove a particular color variety, created each finished textile, and, in some cases, participated in the mortuary ritual.10

Figure 3 – Wari Kayan 28, details of fiber color, spin, weave, and stitching of large cotton wrapping cloths, items 8, 10, 17 and 30. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

12Cotton in a single natural color is used for the base cloth of most garments in EH 10A and 10B assemblages and mortuary bundles that span the transition to EIP 1A. The predominant hues are beige, light browns and ochre (Figure 4), while lighter cream-colored cotton is unusual, appearing with deep red borders on mantles and headcloths in certain transitional contexts, including WK 94 and WK 157. Further analysis can determine whether different colors of natural cotton correlate with different characteristics of the camelid fiber, dyed hues, production techniques and imagery in the polychrome elements of each garment. Medium brown cotton similar to hues prevalent among Ocucaje 10 plain weaves also appears in some garments in EH 10 Wari Kayan contexts, associated with Linear mode embroidery in which yarns corresponding to several colors have deteriorated to a shiny brown-black ‘carbonized’ state, a feature also recurrent among Paracas Tradition embroideries (Figure 5a). Both the embroidery style and imagery on these textiles have ‘cross-over’ features related to Linear mode styles documented at Ocucaje and Wari Kayan, indicating exchange relations or production in an intercultural context.

Figure 4 – Wari Kayan 352, details of fiber color, spin, weave, and stitching of cotton cloths of mantle 35, mantle 37, headcloth 70 and headcloth 77. Registro DB 15, 20, 23. Museo Regional de Ica.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

Figure 5 – Wari Kayan 114, garments with technical features typical of Paracas Tradition textiles. (a) On left, details of mantle 45: embroidered border, fringe and underlying cotton cloth, Cat. 41.2/8782. (b) On right, details of tunic 17: warp-crossed gauze and discontinuous weft slits, Cat. 41.2/8753. American Museum of Natural History.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

13Dyed cotton is more prevalent in mortuary contexts associated with Paracas tradition ceramics, though the colors can be subtle. Yellow-beige cotton is associated with Paracas Tradition tunics patterned with weft slits and warp-crossed gauze (Figure 5b), documented in two of the more elaborate EH 10 male bundles at Wari Kayan. Brown cotton is used in contrast with beige cotton in Paracas tradition double-cloth. The orange-brown cotton plain weave of a mantle from Ocucaje tomb 49 does not appear to correspond to a naturally occurring fiber color, and a plaid mantle from Ocucaje tomb 66 demonstrates well-preserved dyed cotton in hues of yellow, brown, blue and red (see Figure 11).

14Striped cotton, in many cases warp and weft stripes creating a plaid effect, most often appears on cloths used to wrap small objects, placed outside a Wari Kayan mortuary bundle or with the individual at the core. Some large wrapping cloths have an irregular striped appearance due to different levels of fiber deterioration in sections of their warp or weft (Figure 3a), but at the time of weaving these yarns may not have varied in color. A few wrapping cloths have been intentionally warped and woven to create a striped or plaid pattern (Figure 6). These include darker browns, products of dye processes indicated by fiber deterioration. Throughout the Wari Kayan assemblage plaid cloth tends to be associated with outside influences, either with Paracas tradition features among the EH 10 bundles or Nasca tradition features among later bundles.

Figure 6 – Wari Kayan 199, cotton wrapping cloth with warp stripes, bound to create a ‘false head’ at the top of the bundle, item 27. Registro Textil 5314. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

15Many dyed mantles in EH 10 Wari Kayan contexts have deteriorated in all areas exposed to light, leaving brownish decomposed fiber. A relatively well-preserved red-dyed cotton mantle with carbonized Linear borders adorned the outer display layer of EH 10 female bundle WK 113 (Figure 7a), and red outer mantles are reported in other early female contexts. A proto-Nasca mantle and matching headcloth in EH 10 male bundle WK 114 (see Figure 17) both have severely deteriorated base cloth that retains evidence of a dark blue. The dyed cotton cloth common in EIP 1 contexts includes hues of yellow, red, green and blue dyed over a range of natural hues (Figure 7b-d), suggesting that natural fiber colors influence or enhance the color achieved in the dye process. For example, the color of mantles and personal garments in a garment set of red-dyed cotton in WK 12 (skirt 382-45, tunic 382-43 and mantle 382-7) has been described as “salmon.” These garments were described as red or light red when first observed in the early 20th century. Both color and cloth have suffered further loss after exhibition and years in storage, and appear pink-orange as the dye fades from the ochre cotton.

Figure 7 – (a) On left, Wari Kayan 113, red cotton mantle with carbonized Linear Mode border and adhering yellow feathers, item 4, Cat. 41.2/8839a. American Museum of Natural History. (b) On right, above, Wari Kayan 421, blue cotton mantle cloth, item 133, Registro Textil 1674. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú. (c) On right, below, Wari Kayan 27, green cotton mantle cloth, item 9, Registro 3559. Museo Inka, Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad de Cusco.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

Natural and dyed camelid hair

16The use of different colors of camelid hair, both undyed and chosen for dyeing to achieve particular colors, potentially may link the use of hair from wild camelids and herd management of domesticated camelids to the color palette associated with objects in a particular style, and the styles predominant in each mortuary bundle. While dye penetration on camelid hair yarns tends to be very good, the hue achieved is affected by the initial fiber color. Ochre fibers resembling the predominant areas of fine hair on the vicuña – and relatively coarse hair on the guanaco – underlie the colors combined in most EH 10 Linear Mode garments and men’s knotted and looped headbands at Wari Kayan. While domesticated camelids may have provided much of this fiber, those fleeces must have been selected for animals similar in color to their wild ancestors.

  • 11 King 1965, table 9, p. 555, 558.
  • 12 Flores Ochoa 1986.

17Large rectangular shields, found in four locations in the Wari Kayan cemetery, are constructed of cane splints woven with strips of camelid hide in contrasting bands of beige and ochre hair or cream-white and red-brown hair (Figure 8), designed to be held using a set of cords of dark brown hair located on the back. A similar shield ascribed to Ocucaje tomb 49 is woven in contrasting bands of cream-white and dark brown hair. Similar colors are used to create a looped camelid hair garments, including a tunic with a rayed head motif ascribed to tomb 43.11 In the Cuzco region, the variable colors of domestic camelids are grouped into named color categories important in discourse about the relationships between herders and their animals, and color also has been an important factor in the use of certain animals in ritual.12

Figure 8 – Wari Kayan 408 and 422, shields of split cane woven with strips of camelid hide in two contrasting colors, found adjacent to these mortuary contexts. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

18Certain embroidery styles, as well as woven cloth and headdress elements in other techniques, are based on a different range of hues dyed on cream white, beige and gray camelid hair. These include light reds common in headcloths, bright medium blue, and bright “pastel” hues such as pink, bright yellow, pale blue and bright ‘coca’ green. The introduction of black and white in Nasca-related embroidery styles is associated with natural cream-white cotton or camelid fiber contrasting with a natural black or blue dye on dark grey or brown camelid hair. The relationships between color palette, embroidery style and characteristics of the camelid fiber used indicate that particular fleeces have been chosen to create certain garments. While there is a pragmatic aspect to choosing camelid hair appropriate for spinning, dyeing and use in garment construction and decoration, these associations also indicate a vertical organization of production connecting social group identity, herd management, fiber selection and symbolic uses of color in garment production.

Dominant color combinations in garment design

Red on Red, deep blue and the Wari Kayan four-color cycle

  • 13 Iconography and image style correspond to the “primary Linear embroidered variety” defined in Peter (...)
  • 14 Peters 2014b, figure 4e.
  • 15 This technique was first described by Rowe (1977) as a plain weave structure with substitution of a (...)

19Bright medium reds dyed on beige to ochre camelid hair are the dominant color used for both outlining and ‘background’ in the early style of Paracas Necrópolis Linear mode imagery.13 The same imagery is created on warp-patterned woven and appliquéd tunic borders, an embroidered mantle that matches the tunic, and a row of small versions embroidered along the inner margin of both the tunic and mantle borders. In the tunics, similar camelid hair yarns have been used to weave the patterned band and stitch the embroidery, and were re-plied (Z(4S(2z))) to make a long yarn fringe at the shoulders.14 The base warp and weft are identical red yarns, while supplementary navy blue, pine green, and yellow-gold warps are substituted in the plain weave structure15 to create Linear mode motifs (Figure 9). When a fifth color is present it is a red-brown, often deteriorated.

Figure 9 – Wari Kayan 114, details of tunic and mantle borders representing a simian motif in Linear Mode design and the predominant EH 10 color system. (a) On left, red plain weave band with supplementary warps in navy blue, yellow-gold, pine green and red-brown (deteriorated) visible along loom and margin and substituted to create the figure, with plied fringe, item 51a, Cat. 41.2/8791. (b) On right, mantle border embroidered on a separate cloth panel, with red outlining and background, paired dots imitating supplementary warps, a row of figures embroidered along the inner border margin, and plied fringe, item 51, Cat. 41.2/8790. American Museum of Natural History.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

20Red is used to outline embroidered versions of the motif while the other colors are used for the figure details in a cycle of four different color combinations. In early Necrópolis Linear mode embroideries, identical or similar reds are used for background areas and the outlines of some figure components in each of the four versions, creating a mystical effect in which parts of each motif are nearly invisible, seen only in the sheen and texture of the stitching. The absolute colors vary, but replicate the system of contrasts. For example, in WK 114 mantles and tunics of different garment sets are associated with different hues, such as a lighter or darker red, a more purplish blue, an orange-gold, or a teal green, along with other aspects of production style. Whether product of differences in the camelid hair used or the particular dye practices of a producer group, these distinctions indicate diverse social communities involved in production of the garment sets.

  • 16 Peters 2014b, figures 5f, 5g, 5h.
  • 17 Peters 2014b, figure 5e.
  • 18 Iconography and image style correspond to the “secondary Linear embroidered variety” defined in Pet (...)

21Most men’s headbands of tubular looping or close knotting are created with camelid hair yarns like those used to embroider the associated garments,16 although there are exceptions: WK 114 is topped by a close knotted headband with a color scheme and two alternating motifs typical of Ocucaje.17 Fine headcloths, wound turban-like on the individual or the bundle, have narrow borders with Linear mode motifs unlike those found in other garments.18 The yarns and weave of their base cloth, as well as their border proportions, image design principles, stitching and edge finishes also differ from other garments (Figure 10). The headcloths are associated with a range of natural cottons and hues of dyed camelid hair similar to other Linear mode embroideries, and the red background often a light hue composed of yarns spun of cream-white, long-fibered camelid hair. Despite their peculiarities of design and production, most early Wari Kayan headcloth motifs cycle among four different color combinations similar to other Linear mode embroideries.

Figure 10 – Wari Kayan 114, details of fine cotton headcloths showing different styles of the Linear Mode embroidery and color system predominant in headcloth borders. (a) Above, light red border with paired figures, showing imprint caused by cotton fiber deterioration due to contact with a dyed yarn, item 32a, Cat. 41.2/8769. (b), Below, headcloth that covered the proto-Nasca headcloth in figure 17, red border with typical motif and unusual ‘abbreviated’ variant near the corner, item 50a, Cat. 41.2/8787. American Museum of Natural History.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

22The plain weave cloth panels composing each garment may differ in proportions, yarn color, and weave density. Natural cotton in beige, yellow-beige, or ochre hues has been used for the base cloth in most of the red-dominant Linear Mode embroidered garments, while brown deteriorated fiber in the cases where only a remnant of the base cloth remains indicates their construction using dyed cotton. Camelid hair base cloth dyed a deep navy blue is used for a minority of mantle-tunic garment sets in EH 10 burials and for red-bordered mantles and garment sets in contexts that span the Paracas-Nasca transition, when it begins also to appear in headcloths. Very dark blues are regularly achieved on camelid hair throughout the Paracas-Nasca transition, as well as on garments in later Wari Kayan contexts, using dye processes that do not result in fiber deterioration.

23Most EH 10A and EH 10B male bundles from Wari Kayan are dominated by tunic-mantle garment sets that share characteristics including garment structure, Linear Mode embroidery styles, edge finishes, and the bright red-dominant color scheme using the red-blue-yellow-green-brown relational system to create a cycle of four versions of a single motif. This garment system associated with consistent production practices and design principles, a set of motifs that recur among different mortuary bundles, certain Linear Mode embroidery styles and a red-dominant color system with a cycle of four color combinations in principle areas of a single repeating motif, appears to be emblematic of the EH 10 Topará ceramic tradition and Paracas Necrópolis mortuary tradition.

Color systems in tombs associated with EH 10 Paracas Tradition ceramics

  • 19 King 1965; Rowe 2015.

24Although contemporary Topará and late Paracas Tradition ceramics appear together in some Paracas “Cavernas” (Cerro Colorado) and Ocucaje tombs, these textile assemblages are not characterized by the garment system, combination of decorative techniques, design principles, or color system predominant in the Necropolis of Wari Kayan. King describes techniques, imagery and purported gravelot associations for textiles from Ocucaje tombs and compares them with textiles from Cerro Colorado, while Rowe provides a systematic description of the Linear Mode embroideries in her Ocucaje sample.19 While the documentation is less reliable than the Paracas Necrópolis associations, comparative study of garments with alleged provenience demonstrates that the Ocucaje mortuary assemblages are associated with textile styles and techniques rarely present in Wari Kayan tombs. By defining the forms that predominate at each site it becomes possible to distinguish styles rare in one region but characteristic of the other, and thereby trace exchange of garments among Paracas Tradition and Topará Tradition producers as well as mutual influence.

  • 20 Peters 2014b, figure 6b.

25The Ocucaje assemblage includes several relational color systems. The hues, and probably the dye processes, are similar in many cases, but the combinatory systems tend to be based on binary pairs. A contrast between a bright and a dark red is common in double-cloth.20 In embroidered borders, the two reds may be combined with a dark green and a background of gray-brown deteriorated fiber, while in a warp-patterned tunic border in the same style, the background is dark brown (Figure 11). The tiny points of bright blue and yellow in these red-on-red borders are reminiscent of macaw feathers. Imagery in embroidery and double-cloth is often organized in pairs of similar motifs that contrast in body position and other features. Many of the same icons recur in both the Wari Kayan and Ocucaje Linear mode imagery. For example, the profile simian figures on the plaid mantle are analogous to those in Figure 9, and the border has a four-color cycle, possibly influenced by Topará-associated Linear mode design.

Figure 11 – Ocucaje Basin, details showing the predominant EH 10 Linear Mode image style, techniques and color system. (a) On left, tunic border, brown plain weave band with supplementary warp patterned motifs, tomb 63 item 2, Cat. 91.937. (b) On right above, embroidered mantle border, tomb 49 item 11, Cat. 91.906. (c) On right, below, embroidered mantle border, tomb 66 item 3, Cat. 91.946. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

  • 21 Peters 2014b, figure 6a.
  • 22 Peters 2014b, figure 4b.
  • 23 Massey 1991.

26In painted cotton cloths that covered the ‘false head’ of an Ocucaje bundle, hues of brown pigment are contrasted with the natural beige, and a similar contrast is echoed in double-cloth with imagery constructed by two intersecting plain weave panels of cotton or camelid hair.21 In camelid hair garments constructed with looping or close knotting, a dark brown is often contrasted with cream-white in a design element or an entire garment (Figure 12).22 Variants of the Rayed Head image recur among lower Ica Valley textiles and are prominently depicted in a mural at the site of Ánimas in the Callango basin.23 On the hammock-shaped knotted headdress from Ocucaje tomb 62 the motif is depicted in yellow-gold, a choice probably motivated by a solar reference, while a different version is worked in white on brown on the looped tunic from tomb 43. On the embroidered mantle borders, a version like that painted on Ocucaje ‘false head’ cloths is depicted in the red-on-red color system. In both the bichrome and polychrome imagery colors are paired, in a design process built on binary contrasts.

Figure 12 – Ocucaje Basin, Rayed Head imagery organized in binary color contrasts. (a) On left, knotted hammock-shaped headdress band, tomb 62 item 3, Cat. 91.935. (b) On right, embroidered mantle border, tomb unknown, Cat. 91.1032a. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

27A three-color design system recurs in triple-cloth bands depicting rayed heads or other figures, where yellow-gold or beige is contrasted with dark blue and pine green (Figure 13). While some of these bands are ascribed to earlier phases, others appear in Ocucaje 10 contexts, and the differences in color and image style may be related more to social group identities than time per se. These colors also are used together in embroidered borders with a brown (deteriorated) background. Where red is added, the set of colors is similar to that typical of Wari Kayan garments, but is not ordered in the same relational system.

Figure 13 – Ocucaje Basin, “triple-cloth” plain weave bands with supplementary warps and wefts, Rayed Head imagery in yellow-gold, green, and navy blue. (a) On left, early band with Chavín-related imagery, tomb unknown, Cat. 91.855. (b) Center, band in Chongos-related style, tomb 27 item 24, Cat. 91.878a. (c) On right, band in a ‘mask’ style, tomb 27 item 25a, Cat. 91.879. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

28The bright medium blue and yellow that appear as bright flecks in some red-on-red borders are prominently used in other Ocucaje textiles, where they tend to be paired with a bright and dark red. The central ground of the mantle from Ocucaje tomb 21 is worked in plain weave with discontinuous warps and wefts, creating bird images that share the same vertical orientation, separated by stepped bands. Bright blue and yellow are used with a cream white, contrasting with the deeper hues of red and brown (Figure 14). On a close-knotted headband a pale blue appears together with a gray, dyed on pale beige camelid hair, creating a stepped motif (Figure 15). Note the association of bright hues of blue, gray, yellow and cream-white with stepped motifs and birds, worked in a technique that facilitates design using large areas of color.

Figure 14 – Ocucaje Basin, mantle of plain weave cloth with figures created by interlocking warps and wefts and embroidered border in the predominant Ocucaje 10 style, tomb 21 item 8, Cat. 91.869. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.

Photo by A. H. Peters.

Figure 15 – Ocucaje Basin, close-knotted headdress band with motifs of paired stepped blocks, flanking panels in complex oblique interlace and weft patterning and long yarn fringe, tomb unknown, Cat. 91.1063. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.

Photo by A. H. Peters.

Color systems in “cross-over” styles in Wari Kayan and Ocucaje

29The red-bordered mantle from Ocucaje tomb 49 has large rayed head figures embroidered on the central ground, in a Broad Line style and different colors, featuring rayed head motifs outlined in green and yellow with dark red and cream white used for the eyes (Figure 16). The yarns and stitching, as well as the image style, iconography, and color scheme, do not match the border embroidery, and correspond in stitching procedure to the Broad Line mode. This brings up the possibility of interaction among embroiderers of different production traditions, as well as the potential to trace imagery and color schemes not only among gravelots, but also among regions. While the same motifs may be depicted in radically different techniques and image styles, here we note a motivated or emblematic use of green and yellow to depict a motif that appears to refer to a solar figure and recurs in imagery from the lower Ica Valley.

Figure 16 – Ocucaje Basin, mantle of orange cotton with embroidered border in the predominant Ocucaje 10 style and large Rayed Head figures embroidered on the central cloth in a Broad Line style, tomb 49 item 11, Cat. 91.906. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.

Photo by A. H. Peters.

30A mantle-headcloth set in an inner layer of WK 114 also has borders and figures on the central ground that differ radically in motif, image style and color scheme (Figure 17). The border embroidery features a segmented pattern of stepped blocks embroidered in stitches similar to later Block Color mode embroidery, using a color palette featuring a medium blue and bright yellow, as well as a dark red-purple and natural mottled gray. Paired condor figures flank the seam of the dyed cotton cloth and smaller condors line the inner border margins, worked in a Broad Line style with a dark red body, eyes and plumage worked in black and cream-white. Both mantle and headcloth border margins have polychrome plied yarn fringe. The garment types, design, finishes, and color schemes correspond to a proto-Nasca style, although both stepped segmented bands and condor motifs recur among EH 9 and EH 10 Paracas Tradition ceramics from the lower Ica Valley and the Paracas site. This garment set demonstrates that colors and aspects of style that characterize later Wari Kayan contexts are already present in late Paracas times.

Figure 17 – Wari Kayan 114, headcloth border segmented in paired stepped blocks with red outlines and one of a row on condor figures adjacent to its inner margin, on dyed cotton, Cat. 41.2/8788. American Museum of Natural History.

Photo by A. H. Peters.

31A number of Wari Kayan contexts include Linear mode embroidery on a background in which most yarns have oxidized, producing a color shift to brown as well as fiber deterioration, with some yarns appearing as shiny black lumps or missing. Often the yarns corresponding to several of the figure colors also have deteriorated, indicating several dye practices (or perhaps local water sources) deleterious to yarn preservation. Several mantles and other garments in EH 10 contexts WK 113, WK 114, WK 136, WK 199 and WK 352 have carbonized borders, also characterized by embroidery proportions and distribution not characteristic of the Wari Kayan assemblage. While some of these unusual features are found among garments in the Ocucaje assemblage, the most robust hypothesis is that textiles sharing similar features come from one or more producer communities yet to be identified in the region, without assuming that their final resting place reflects their origin point.

  • 24 Peters 2014b, figure 5f.

32A series of Linear embroideries on carbonized backgrounds in WK 352 feature motifs embroidered in a unique style and range of hues. This mortuary context is built around a man wearing a classic close-knotted (etc.) headband in the EH 10 Wari Kayan style,24 but no other emblematic male garments were placed in the bundle. Cross-over garments in this bundle include a narrow-bordered mantle depicting a frontal figure with large head appendages, a motif recurrent in contemporary Ocucaje and Wari Kayan contexts, embroidered in a binary alternation of medium and dark red in a unique Linear style (Figure 18a). Another narrow-bordered mantle depicts the ‘falling figure’ (also known as the bent-back figure, shamanic figure or sacrificial figure and strongly associated with the Paracas Necrópolis mortuary complex) in bright hues on a carbonized ground, in a style atypical of Wari Kayan Linear mode design (Figure 18b). While they differ radically in embroidery style, both these mantles feature production features and colors reminiscent of Ocucaje embroideries combined with features more typical of the Wari Kayan assemblage.

Figure 18 – Wari Kayan 352, two mantles combining features characteristic of textiles from Ocucaje and Wari Kayan tombs. (a) On left, mantle border segmented in sections of bright and dark red, tiny monochrome motifs creating squares lining the inner border margin, item 23, Registro DB 8. (b) On right, mantle border on light brown cotton with carbonized background, figures in an unusual Linear Mode style, tiny monochrome motifs creating squares lining the inner border margin, item 24, Registro DB 24. Museo Regional de Ica.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

  • 25 Peters 2014a, figure 4-3 a and b, p. 117.

33A fragmentary mantle or skirt has an unusual border layout with Linear mode embroidery on a carbonized background depicting diagonal double-headed serpents, in a style reminiscent of Central coast and early Nasca “interlocking” serpent motifs, prominently featuring bright blue and yellow (Figure 19a). Other narrow-bordered mantles and headcloths feature bird motifs in a Linear style laid out in a mosaic-like diagonal array (Figure 19b), also characterized by a set of bright hues on a light red background dyed on cream-white camelid hair. The colors, stitching and figure design in both these garments resemble textiles from the Ocucaje assemblage but the row of tiny motifs along the inner border is characteristic of textiles at Wari Kayan. Bright red headcloths are also present: WK 352 includes three wide headcloths like those in women’s bundles, with continuous diagonal motifs stitched on red borders, as well as five of the long narrow headcloths typical of early Wari Kayan contexts, with red borders with Linear mode designs.25 This mortuary bundle represents an unusual and innovative combination of both cultural and gender identities, and spans both late EH 10 and the Paracas-Nasca transition.

Figure 19 – Wari Kayan 352, garments with embroidered borders with continuous, diagonally oriented imagery in unusual colors. (a) Above, mantle or skirt border with carbonized background on yellow-beige cotton, double-headed serpent motifs in bright hues of red, blue and yellow, tiny monochrome motifs creating squares lining the inner border margin, and remnants of an unusual edging, item 28, Registro DB 2. (b) Below, headcloth of beige cotton with light red border with tiny polychrome bird motifs, edging of cross-knit looping and row of tiny monochrome squares lining the inner margin, item 70, Registro DB 23. Museo Regional de Ica.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

Color in Transitional mortuary bundles

  • 26 Paul 1982, 1990.
  • 27 See Paul 1982 for a detailed discussion of this imagery.

34A group of textiles present in EH 10 contexts and mortuary bundles that span the Paracas-Nasca transition are embroidered in the Broad Line mode, first defined by Anne Paul.26 Broad Line imagery has antecedents in Paracas Tradition incised and painted or negative-decorated ceramics, as well as double-cloth, triple-cloth, close knotting, looping, ‘sprang’ interlinking, warp-crossed gauze weave, warp patterning, embroidery and painting on cotton or hide.27 Broad Line embroidery appears on garments in both Ocucaje and Wari Kayan tombs spanning EH 10 and the Paracas-Nasca transition. The Wari Kayan garments typically have embroidered motifs along the inner border margin and garment margin finishes such as plied fringe and a looped edging, while examples from Ocucaje lack these elements. In both assemblages, most Broad Line embroideries have a background color appearing red-brown to purple-brown, often ‘carbonized’, and a minority has a red background. The set of colors used for the figures usually cycle in four variants, each with a predominant color used for wide bands of stitching that create both the outlines and interior features of each motif. Distinct Broad Line image styles differ in stitching procedure and color scheme.

  • 28 See Peters, 2014a, figure 4-4a and 4b, p. 121-122.

35WK 114 has a series of three men’s tunics with Broad Line embroidery. Two have carbonized backgrounds, each depicting a repeating motif in a different Broad Line style.28 The third is a well-preserved example of a tunic type common among early EIP 1A male bundles at Wari Kayan, with red borders with paired simian figures organized in a binary color contrast, with a dark purple-blue contrasting with yellow and red contrasting with green (Figure 20a). This innovative tunic combining features from different traditions was placed when new on an outer layer of WK 114. A border fragment from Ocucaje with a carbonized background features similar paired simian figures in brighter hues (Figure 20b), including medium shades of green and blue, a yellow-orange, maroon, purple and pink. Later, related simian motifs are depicted in bright hues in an early Block Color style on a well-preserved mantle with narrow purple borders (382-38) in EIP 1A bundle WK 12 (opened as 382), suggesting that this motif, range of hues and other features of style continue to be emblematic of a particular social identity.

Figure 20 – Wari Kayan and Ocucaje garment borders with paired simian figures worked in the Broad Line style. (a) On left, Wari Kayan 114, tunic of dark brown cotton with a diagonally stitched bright red border, interlinked pairs of simian figures alternating green with purple and yellow-gold with navy blue, edging of cross-knit looping and plied fringe, item 36, Cat. 41.2/8773. American Museum of Natural History. (b) On right, Ocucaje Basin, tunic of orange cotton, border with carbonized background, interlinked pairs of simian figures in varying colors, tomb unknown, Cat. 91.1042. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.

(a) Photo by A. H. Peters. (b) Photo by Textile Museum staff, used with permission.

36WK 352 includes many mantles with relatively narrow borders embroidered directly along the margins of two seamed panels of beige cotton cloth. These mantles represent a different garment tradition from the wide-bordered Linear mode mantles that predominate in early Wari Kayan male bundles. They feature Broad Line embroidery on a red or an oxidized background, including icons also present in Broad Line embroideries from Ocucaje. Motifs such as a profile bird, or a condor devouring a ‘falling figure’ (Figure 21), here appear for the first time in the Wari Kayan assemblage, and recur in subsequent Broad Line and Block Color imagery. This group of Broad Line embroideries features a four-color cycle and frequently follows the color scheme predominant at Wari Kayan. Other narrow-bordered mantles with carbonized or red borders feature small motifs worked in an early, simple Block Color style, which also have a long subsequent history in the Wari Kayan textile assemblage. The tiny figures are also dominated by a single color, and the range of hues and cycle of repetition are those typical of Wari Kayan.

Figure 21 – Wari Kayan, mantles in a Broad Line style with largely monochrome avian motifs in a cycle of four colors. (a) On left, Wari Kayan 352, mantle of cream-beige cotton, narrow borders with a carbonized background depicting long-necked birds, no preserved edging or fringe, item 35. Museo Regional de Ica. (b) On right, Wari Kayan [Sevilla 4], mantle of light brown cotton, wider borders with a carbonized background depicting condor figures devouring a small human figure, small bichrome motifs in squares line the inner border, four-color plied fringe, item 14, Registro Textil 1868. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.

Photos by A. H. Peters.

  • 29 Peters 2014b, figure 4f.
  • 30 Peters 2014b, figure 4d.

37WK 157 is one of the most elaborate Wari Kayan contexts, representing the next generation after WK 114 with textiles that span EH 10 and the transition into EIP 1A. In the inner layers of this mortuary bundle, groups of cotton tunics with four-ply cotton shoulder fringe and wide neck borders29 embroidered in diverse Broad Line styles include examples with a red-green-blue-yellow color cycle and other color combinations. This tunic form developed from plain ochre cotton tunics with abundant shoulder fringe, found in both WK 199 and WK 114.30 Tunic 68 features a dark red background with profile cat figures nearly identical to those on an Ocucaje spout and bridge bottle, worked in several different scales using a range of hues recurrent in contemporary Ocucaje textiles (Figure 22a). Tunic 86 and a matching skirt (97) form a garment set with segmented borders alternating pairs of stepped blocks and checkerboards, worked in bright green, yellow, blue and carbonized yarn with red outlines in stem stitch (Figure 22b). I propose that these tunics were produced in different communities linked to the Ocucaje mortuary contexts, and also linked to the garments in unusual color schemes in WK 114 and WK 352.

Figure 22 – Wari Kayan 157, cotton tunics with wide neck borders and plied cotton shoulder fringe. (a) On left, tunic of ochre cotton with dark red neck borders depicting profile felines in colors typical of Ocucaje 10, item 68, Registro Textil 3151. (b) On right, tunic of ochre cotton with borders segmented in pairs of stepped blocks and checkerboard squares in yellow-gold, green, dark blue and a carbonized color, outlined in red, item 86, Registro Textil 2456. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.

Photos by MNAAHP staff, used with permission.

  • 31 Dwyer 1979; Paul 1990 p. 60-61.
  • 32 Rowe 2015.
  • 33 Peters 2014b, figures 6a, 6c.

38In WK 157 all seven mantles, twenty-five of twenty-eight tunics, thirteen of the eighteen men’s skirts, and the fifteen headcloths have red-dominant borders. Both Linear and Broad Line embroideries appear on mantle borders with a red background and other features characteristic of the Wari Kayan textile assemblage, such as plied camelid yarn fringe and complex looped edge finish. Linear mode embroidery changes in the gravelots that define the transition to the early Intermediate Period 1A in the Dwyer-Paul chronology.31 In her discussion of examples from the Ocucaje assemblage, Rowe notes that later Linear embroidery incorporates progressively larger areas of flat embroidered background around the Linear figure outlines.32 Matching tunics with embroidered borders have long polychrome shoulder fringe and a yarn fringe on all border margins, like the tunic depicting paired simians in WK 114.33 Based on the shoulder fringe, the spatial organization of the embroidery, and the predominance of red in the border backgrounds and fringe, these tunics appear to be a garment type related to the earlier tunics with warp-patterned borders, playing a similar emblematic role as a Topará-associated male garment.

39However, in these ‘transitional’ mortuary bundles other mantle-tunic sets embroidered in the Block Color mode also appear, associated with similar garment forms. An extraordinary garment set in WK 49 introduces a new version of the ‘falling figure’ with thickly outlined streaming hair and a body position horizontal in relationship to the face, embroidered in a Block Color style on relatively narrow dark purple borders (Figure 23). The light beige cotton tunic (42) has long four-ply purple-dominant polychrome shoulder fringe and short fringe along its base, but the fringe does not extend along the other border margins. The mantle (41) has borders intermediate in width between those characteristic of the Linear and Broad Line groups, and a band of complex looping covering the seam between the two panels of beige cotton. This purple-bordered garment set introduces principles of mantle and tunic design that subsequently recur among the Nasca-related embroidered garments in subsequent Wari Kayan contexts.

Figure 23 – Wari Kayan 49, tunic of beige cotton with with polychrome plied shoulder fringe and narrow, dark purple borders depicting a horizontal version of the Falling Figure in a Block Color style, item 42, Registro Textil 1292. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.

Photos by MNAAHP staff, used with permission.

40A type of very dark finely woven cloth appears in a few Transitional mortuary bundles and recurs throughout subsequent Wari Kayan mortuary contexts, the product of a peculiar dye process that leads to near-black hues of “petroleum green,” navy blue, and reddish-purple on either cotton or camelid hair. A similar dye process for these dark hues is indicated by areas of the same cloth or embroidery that fade to either green or purple. These cloths can be associated with borders with a red, light red, pink or yellow-gold background and typically are deteriorated and friable. Cloth of red-dyed ochre cotton cloth or red camelid hair is recurrently associated with purple or dark green borders. There are many cases of the same embroidered motif or particular garment form associated with several of these color combinations, suggesting that they are in some sense equivalent as well as opposite, a binary garment-level color contrast.

The legacy of color at the dawn of the Early Intermediate Period

  • 34 Peters and Tomasto-Cagigao 2016, figure 6.

41Red-dominant Linear Mode embroidery on natural cotton or dark blue camelid hair continues to be important in Transitional contexts and those of Early Intermediate Period 1A at Wari Kayan, and is usually placed on the outer display level of man’s bundles. Women’s mantles in transitional and EIP 1A bundles feature red-dominant embroidery on dark blue camelid hair with Linear Mode or Broad Line imagery, and women’s dresses of natural cotton or dark green or blue camelid hair have red-dominant plain weave borders with warp patterning in dark blue, green, yellow-gold and brown.34 Among the embroidered borders on new male garment forms, the unkuña tunic (also called esclavina or ponchito) and the loincloth, four-color sectioned borders feature binary figure-ground contrasts between red and green or dark blue and yellow-gold, simultaneously referencing and transforming the dominant EH 10 Wari Kayan color system. Red border backgrounds and figure outlines on natural cotton or dark blue camelid hair continue to be common in Block Color mantles and other garments in Wari Kayan mortuary contexts designated as EIP 1B and EIP 2, though they appear together with garments in other color combinations. Nasca style motifs introduced on purple or green borders often are reinterpreted on red-bordered garments in a later mortuary bundle.

42Underneath the outer display layer, garments have Linear, Broad Line or early Block Color imagery and border background colors can be red, green, or purple. As cloth woven of yarns dyed red, yellow or green also becomes common, the garment-level binary contrasts between cloth and border background described by Carrión become an important part of communicative color in the Wari Kayan textile assemblage, and the layering of garments on the mortuary bundle creates large-scale contrasts like those structures by cycles of color repeat among the details of repeated motifs. Green-dyed cloth with purple borders becomes a common combination in men’s and women’s headcloths, and in EIP 1B and EIP 2 male contexts is commonly associated with the Anako garment system. The diverse garment-level color systems appear to be a product of the interaction between social groups linked to the late Paracas and Topará Traditions, as well as a locus for early Nasca influence.

43The hues of medium blue, yellow, pink, and purple, as well as natural grays and the diagnostic Nasca-related use of black and white, appear in a minority of garments associated with complex, often ‘naturalistic’ Block Color imagery and unusual style and production features. Bright blue and mottled gray are used for cloth, border backgrounds or major areas of motifs in mantles with ‘foreign’ elements of design, imagery and production techniques. Some embroidered garments feature pastel hues used to create bright specks of color in figure details such as pelage or plumage markings, reminiscent of the use of bright blue and yellow in the earlier Ocucaje embroideries. EIP 1B contexts include garments with pink or yellow border backgrounds, brightly hued border segments with stepped margins, or borders of diagonal mosaic patterning. Bright blue continues to be associated with Nasca-related imagery and style features in the elaborately embroidered mantles in EIP 2 contexts, where bright blue, yellow, pink and purple are featured in certain men’s oblique interlace headbands, headcloths and other headdress elements.

Conclusions

44The ‘Early Horizon’ 10 Wari Kayan mortuary contexts demonstrate a distinctive red-dominant color system associated with particular styles of Linear Mode design, both in embroidery and warp-patterned bands. Contemporary textile assemblages at Ocucaje, Cavernas and elsewhere in the region associated with both late Paracas Tradition and Jahuay style Topará Tradition artifacts are fundamentally dissimilar in color systems, as well as production techniques. Many artifact forms are analogous, such as tunics with warp-patterned borders and close-knotted headbands, differing in proportions related to the style and iconography of their decorative elements. Likewise, the production of garments with red-dominant Linear Mode embroidered borders in both traditions points to a related aesthetic, product of common roots or longstanding interactions. Nonetheless, the stitching styles, dye practices and color combinations, as well as the cotton cloth underlying the embroidery, are quite dissimilar.

45The Wari Kayan color system is based on a bright red with four complementary colors cycling among the details of the motifs, while the Ocucaje embroideries are based on a binary contrast between a medium and dark red, alternating in paired contrasting motifs. Binary contrasts occur in other paired colors in the Ocucaje textile assemblage. In EH 10 and Transitional mortuary contexts, “cross-over” textiles in Linear, Broad line and early Block Color styles combine techniques and color systems from both traditions to depict new motifs that have a long subsequent history among textiles in later Wari Kayan mortuary contexts. Likewise, the color systems identified among textiles from this period are represented among Wari Kayan bundles of the Early Intermediate Period, where both four-color cycles and binary contrasts are extended to large fields of woven cloth and the background of embroidered borders.

46Textiles with late Paracas or Nasca-related features do not appear all at once among the Wari Kayan mortuary bundles: rather, several innovative color combinations are associated with other ‘foreign’ features in textiles placed in complex mortuary bundles from every phase of the creation of this cemetery. Image style and garment design differ in each group, indicating several different social contexts of production. Like new garment forms and the changes among other artifacts that structure and adorn Wari Kayan mortuary bundles during and subsequent to the Paracas-Nasca transition, changes in garment color schemes form part of a transformation in the cultural identity of those who create, and are preserved in, the Paracas Necrópolis mortuary complex.

47While color schemes linked to other aspects of garment style, are prevalent in each particular mortuary context, the diversity of each assemblage indicates that the tomb is a final point of deposition for artifacts whose points of origin may vary widely. Color systems and other aspects of style do not match a model of simple Topará-Paracas or Topará-Nasca contrasts or standardized sets of garments produced for a centralized power. Instead they suggest exchange relationships among many producer communities differing in their cultural and political affiliations and changing over time. Rather than being the product of technological advances, different color schemes appear to be a product of design practices, preferences, and production chains linked to social identities which themselves change over time.

48References:

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Notes

1 The site and mortuary contexts are described and illustrated in Tello 1959, Tello and Mejía 1979, Tello Archive 2009, Tello Archive 2012. Radiocarbon dates are presented in Paul 1991 and León 2007.

2 Carrión 1931.

3 Stafford 1941; Frame 1986, 1991, 2004; Paul 1998, 2008.

4 Wobst 1977.

5 Dwyer 1979; Paul 1990. This discussion uses their phase terminology: “Early Horizon” (EH) 10A and 10B and “Early Intermediate Period” (EIP) 1A, 1B and 2.

6 Tello and Mejía 1979, fig. 86, p. 318 and fig. 87, p. 323; Paul 1990, map 3.3, p. 27 and map 3.4, p. 28.

7 O’Neale 1937.

8 Peters and Tomasto-Cagigao 2016.

9 Vreeland 1999.

10 Peters 2014a.

11 King 1965, table 9, p. 555, 558.

12 Flores Ochoa 1986.

13 Iconography and image style correspond to the “primary Linear embroidered variety” defined in Peters 1997, p. 739-740: Linear styles in which figurative designs worked in contiguous rectangles cover the embroidered field.

14 Peters 2014b, figure 4e.

15 This technique was first described by Rowe (1977) as a plain weave structure with substitution of a second set of warps. The influence of the warp patterned weaves in the design principles of Linear mode embroidery has recently been noted by Desrosiers (2008) and Peters (2014a).

16 Peters 2014b, figures 5f, 5g, 5h.

17 Peters 2014b, figure 5e.

18 Iconography and image style correspond to the “secondary Linear embroidered variety” defined in Peters 1997, p. 739-740: Linear styles in which figurative designs worked in rectangles alternate with fields of a background color.

19 King 1965; Rowe 2015.

20 Peters 2014b, figure 6b.

21 Peters 2014b, figure 6a.

22 Peters 2014b, figure 4b.

23 Massey 1991.

24 Peters 2014b, figure 5f.

25 Peters 2014a, figure 4-3 a and b, p. 117.

26 Paul 1982, 1990.

27 See Paul 1982 for a detailed discussion of this imagery.

28 See Peters, 2014a, figure 4-4a and 4b, p. 121-122.

29 Peters 2014b, figure 4f.

30 Peters 2014b, figure 4d.

31 Dwyer 1979; Paul 1990 p. 60-61.

32 Rowe 2015.

33 Peters 2014b, figures 6a, 6c.

34 Peters and Tomasto-Cagigao 2016, figure 6.

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Table des illustrations

Légende Figure 1 – Sectors of the Paracas site and its location on the neck of the Paracas Peninsula. Location of the site on the South Coast of the Central Andes in relationship to the contemporary centers of Ocucaje and Cahuachi.
Crédits Graphics by A. H. Peters, composition by E. Tomasto-Cagigao.Google Earth composite satellite images used with permission.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 620k
Légende Figure 2 – Diagram of the relative location of excavated sectors and tombs of the Necropolis of Wari Kayan, showing the levels of information available for each mortuary context.
Crédits Graphic by A. H. Peters, based on diagrams in Paul (1990) and Tello and Mejía (1979) and archival texts and diagrams.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 736k
Légende Figure 3 – Wari Kayan 28, details of fiber color, spin, weave, and stitching of large cotton wrapping cloths, items 8, 10, 17 and 30. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 792k
Légende Figure 4 – Wari Kayan 352, details of fiber color, spin, weave, and stitching of cotton cloths of mantle 35, mantle 37, headcloth 70 and headcloth 77. Registro DB 15, 20, 23. Museo Regional de Ica.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 880k
Légende Figure 5 – Wari Kayan 114, garments with technical features typical of Paracas Tradition textiles. (a) On left, details of mantle 45: embroidered border, fringe and underlying cotton cloth, Cat. 41.2/8782. (b) On right, details of tunic 17: warp-crossed gauze and discontinuous weft slits, Cat. 41.2/8753. American Museum of Natural History.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,5M
Légende Figure 6 – Wari Kayan 199, cotton wrapping cloth with warp stripes, bound to create a ‘false head’ at the top of the bundle, item 27. Registro Textil 5314. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Légende Figure 7 – (a) On left, Wari Kayan 113, red cotton mantle with carbonized Linear Mode border and adhering yellow feathers, item 4, Cat. 41.2/8839a. American Museum of Natural History. (b) On right, above, Wari Kayan 421, blue cotton mantle cloth, item 133, Registro Textil 1674. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú. (c) On right, below, Wari Kayan 27, green cotton mantle cloth, item 9, Registro 3559. Museo Inka, Universidad Nacional San Antonio Abad de Cusco.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Légende Figure 8 – Wari Kayan 408 and 422, shields of split cane woven with strips of camelid hide in two contrasting colors, found adjacent to these mortuary contexts. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,2M
Légende Figure 9 – Wari Kayan 114, details of tunic and mantle borders representing a simian motif in Linear Mode design and the predominant EH 10 color system. (a) On left, red plain weave band with supplementary warps in navy blue, yellow-gold, pine green and red-brown (deteriorated) visible along loom and margin and substituted to create the figure, with plied fringe, item 51a, Cat. 41.2/8791. (b) On right, mantle border embroidered on a separate cloth panel, with red outlining and background, paired dots imitating supplementary warps, a row of figures embroidered along the inner border margin, and plied fringe, item 51, Cat. 41.2/8790. American Museum of Natural History.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,4M
Légende Figure 10 – Wari Kayan 114, details of fine cotton headcloths showing different styles of the Linear Mode embroidery and color system predominant in headcloth borders. (a) Above, light red border with paired figures, showing imprint caused by cotton fiber deterioration due to contact with a dyed yarn, item 32a, Cat. 41.2/8769. (b), Below, headcloth that covered the proto-Nasca headcloth in figure 17, red border with typical motif and unusual ‘abbreviated’ variant near the corner, item 50a, Cat. 41.2/8787. American Museum of Natural History.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 804k
Légende Figure 11 – Ocucaje Basin, details showing the predominant EH 10 Linear Mode image style, techniques and color system. (a) On left, tunic border, brown plain weave band with supplementary warp patterned motifs, tomb 63 item 2, Cat. 91.937. (b) On right above, embroidered mantle border, tomb 49 item 11, Cat. 91.906. (c) On right, below, embroidered mantle border, tomb 66 item 3, Cat. 91.946. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Légende Figure 12 – Ocucaje Basin, Rayed Head imagery organized in binary color contrasts. (a) On left, knotted hammock-shaped headdress band, tomb 62 item 3, Cat. 91.935. (b) On right, embroidered mantle border, tomb unknown, Cat. 91.1032a. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Légende Figure 13 – Ocucaje Basin, “triple-cloth” plain weave bands with supplementary warps and wefts, Rayed Head imagery in yellow-gold, green, and navy blue. (a) On left, early band with Chavín-related imagery, tomb unknown, Cat. 91.855. (b) Center, band in Chongos-related style, tomb 27 item 24, Cat. 91.878a. (c) On right, band in a ‘mask’ style, tomb 27 item 25a, Cat. 91.879. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.
Crédits Photos by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,4M
Légende Figure 14 – Ocucaje Basin, mantle of plain weave cloth with figures created by interlocking warps and wefts and embroidered border in the predominant Ocucaje 10 style, tomb 21 item 8, Cat. 91.869. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.
Crédits Photo by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,8M
Légende Figure 15 – Ocucaje Basin, close-knotted headdress band with motifs of paired stepped blocks, flanking panels in complex oblique interlace and weft patterning and long yarn fringe, tomb unknown, Cat. 91.1063. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.
Crédits Photo by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 4,8M
Légende Figure 16 – Ocucaje Basin, mantle of orange cotton with embroidered border in the predominant Ocucaje 10 style and large Rayed Head figures embroidered on the central cloth in a Broad Line style, tomb 49 item 11, Cat. 91.906. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.
Crédits Photo by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,9M
Légende Figure 17 – Wari Kayan 114, headcloth border segmented in paired stepped blocks with red outlines and one of a row on condor figures adjacent to its inner margin, on dyed cotton, Cat. 41.2/8788. American Museum of Natural History.
Crédits Photo by A. H. Peters.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 936k
Légende Figure 18 – Wari Kayan 352, two mantles combining features characteristic of textiles from Ocucaje and Wari Kayan tombs. (a) On left, mantle border segmented in sections of bright and dark red, tiny monochrome motifs creating squares lining the inner border margin, item 23, Registro DB 8. (b) On right, mantle border on light brown cotton with carbonized background, figures in an unusual Linear Mode style, tiny monochrome motifs creating squares lining the inner border margin, item 24, Registro DB 24. Museo Regional de Ica.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,7M
Légende Figure 19 – Wari Kayan 352, garments with embroidered borders with continuous, diagonally oriented imagery in unusual colors. (a) Above, mantle or skirt border with carbonized background on yellow-beige cotton, double-headed serpent motifs in bright hues of red, blue and yellow, tiny monochrome motifs creating squares lining the inner border margin, and remnants of an unusual edging, item 28, Registro DB 2. (b) Below, headcloth of beige cotton with light red border with tiny polychrome bird motifs, edging of cross-knit looping and row of tiny monochrome squares lining the inner margin, item 70, Registro DB 23. Museo Regional de Ica.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,2M
Légende Figure 20 – Wari Kayan and Ocucaje garment borders with paired simian figures worked in the Broad Line style. (a) On left, Wari Kayan 114, tunic of dark brown cotton with a diagonally stitched bright red border, interlinked pairs of simian figures alternating green with purple and yellow-gold with navy blue, edging of cross-knit looping and plied fringe, item 36, Cat. 41.2/8773. American Museum of Natural History. (b) On right, Ocucaje Basin, tunic of orange cotton, border with carbonized background, interlinked pairs of simian figures in varying colors, tomb unknown, Cat. 91.1042. The Textile Museum, George Washington University Museum.
Crédits (a) Photo by A. H. Peters. (b) Photo by Textile Museum staff, used with permission.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Légende Figure 21 – Wari Kayan, mantles in a Broad Line style with largely monochrome avian motifs in a cycle of four colors. (a) On left, Wari Kayan 352, mantle of cream-beige cotton, narrow borders with a carbonized background depicting long-necked birds, no preserved edging or fringe, item 35. Museo Regional de Ica. (b) On right, Wari Kayan [Sevilla 4], mantle of light brown cotton, wider borders with a carbonized background depicting condor figures devouring a small human figure, small bichrome motifs in squares line the inner border, four-color plied fringe, item 14, Registro Textil 1868. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Légende Figure 22 – Wari Kayan 157, cotton tunics with wide neck borders and plied cotton shoulder fringe. (a) On left, tunic of ochre cotton with dark red neck borders depicting profile felines in colors typical of Ocucaje 10, item 68, Registro Textil 3151. (b) On right, tunic of ochre cotton with borders segmented in pairs of stepped blocks and checkerboard squares in yellow-gold, green, dark blue and a carbonized color, outlined in red, item 86, Registro Textil 2456. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.
Crédits Photos by MNAAHP staff, used with permission.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,4M
Légende Figure 23 – Wari Kayan 49, tunic of beige cotton with with polychrome plied shoulder fringe and narrow, dark purple borders depicting a horizontal version of the Falling Figure in a Block Color style, item 42, Registro Textil 1292. Museo Nacional de Antropología, Arqueología e Historia del Perú.
Crédits Photos by MNAAHP staff, used with permission.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/docannexe/image/69877/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 855k
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Ann H. Peters, « Emblematic and material color in the Paracas-Nasca Transition »Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [En ligne], Colloques, mis en ligne le 08 décembre 2016, consulté le 23 juin 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/69877 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/nuevomundo.69877

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Ann H. Peters

American Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum.

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