The Andean Tunic, 400 BCE–1800 CE

March 7–October 16, 2011


In the high plains of the southern Andes, other groups and regional centers coalesced in the early centuries of the first millennium CE. Such communities were able to produce elegant, impressively sized tunics for the elite members of the population. The regional center of Pucara, to the north of Lake Titicaca, was one of the growing number of these communities. The people of Pucara constructed new ritual buildings and developed a distinctive, stylized iconography that would be used to embellish ceramic vessels and textiles. The iconography included male and female images with characteristically large eyes that were split into light and dark halves. The eyes are a telling feature—they appear on animal and bird images as well—that remained in use for several centuries.