The Andean Tunic, 400 BCE–1800 CE

March 7–October 16, 2011


Wari, another highland community, was located to the north of the present-day city of Ayacucho. Today it is one of the largest archaeological sites in Peru. The Wari community began to expand in the eighth century, and its influence was felt throughout both Andean highlands and the Pacific coast, where a new religion and its iconography spread. A great deal of Wari imagery focused on an imposing central deity and the attendant figures that surrounded it. The attendants, always depicted in profile, are anthropomorphic and have bird, human, or animal heads. They carry tall staffs and feature wings on their backs, and their postures imply running or kneeling. While these attendants are a consistent aspect of the Wari textile design vocabulary, specific design details vary from tunic to tunic; each artist-weaver must have had flexibility in working out the patterns and color choices.