Exhibitions/ Art Object

Tapestry with Figurative Scenes

17th century
Made in Peru
Tapestry weave, cotton warp and camelid weft; ca. 27 ribs to one inch
Overall (Confirmed by Textile Conservation Summer 06): 89 9/16 x 84 3/4 in. (227.5 x 215.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Morris Loeb Bequest, 1956
Accession Number:
Not on view
This tapestry was produced by highly skilled Andean weavers. Its diverse iconography reflects the range of sources and ideas that informed the intellectual framework of colonial Andean society. Along with scenes from the Old Testament, classical Greek mythology, and local daily life, the amorphous central blue shape seems to reinterpret a Chinese symbol. At top left, three horsemen (possibly representing the Magi) wear European-style garments; above their heads is the enigmatic phrase Moussom Nessept. Although the precise meaning is unknown, moussom may relate to the Arabic mawsim, referring to trade winds that are favorable for sailing.
Inscription: In border, upper left: MOUS SOM-NES SEPT (E inverted)
David Benguiat, London; Vitall and Leopold Benguiat, Paris; sold at American Art Galleries, New York, April 10-12, 1924, lot 629; Guillermo Schmidt y Pizarro, until 1956.
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