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The Andean Tunic

The exhibition is made possible through the generosity of the Friends of the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

The Andean Tunic, 400 BCE–1800 CE

March 7–October 16, 2011

Featuring about thirty Andean tunics drawn from the Museum's collection, as well as loans from the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., and two private collections, the exhibition examines the form of the tunic, which held an important cultural place in Andean South America for centuries, particularly in Peru and northern Bolivia. Textiles, a much developed art form there in ancient times, were themselves valued as wealth, and tunics were among the most treasured of textiles. Highlights include a Paracas tunic in the so-called linear style with distinctive shoulder fringe (300–100 BCE), a red Pucara tunic with large shoulder patches, perhaps depicting the face of the sun (135–525 CE), and a seventeenth-century tunic that includes both European lions and toqapu, organized fields of discrete Inka-period designs.