Chimú artist(s)

Not on view

Typically, men in ancient Peru wore a loincloth, sometimes plain and sometimes intricately decorated. This elaborate example, from the north coast, was made from cotton and camelid hair. The extreme length (146 inches) of this textile, which is incomplete as it is missing the distal end (the tie band) that passed through the legs and tied around the body, suggests that the fabric was draped a complicated manner with the decorated end hanging in the front or back. The textile was woven with a rather loose weave that was filled in with horizontal and vertical red bands. The panel features three rows of six squares, each with a yellow fringe surrounding a large red tassel, in an openwork grid pattern embellished with smaller red and yellow tassels. This fabric was almost certainly part of a garment set that would have included a matching shirt and possibly a headdress. Such garments would have created a striking image when viewed in the brilliant sun, against the earthen tones of the grand, adobe buildings of the Chimú kingdom, tassels shimmering with the wearer’s movement.

References and Further Reading

Lapiner, Alan C. Pre-Columbian Art of South America. New York, NY: H. N. Abrams, 1976, pp. 287, Pl. 683.

Lavalle, José Antonio de, Arte y tesoros del Perú. Chimú. Lima, Peru: Banco de Crédito del Perú en la Cultura, 1991, pp. 138-249.

Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. Chimú: Laberintos de un traje Sagrado. Santiago, Chile: Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, 2005.

Oakland, Amy. "Max Uhle’s Field Notes and Textile Collections from Chimu Capac, Supe Valley, Peru; Style and Cultural Affiliation During the Early and Late Middle Horizon." Ñawpa Pacha, 40 (2020), 175-222.

Rowe, Ann Pollard. Costumes and Featherwork of the Lords of Chimor: Textiles from Peru's North Coast. Washington, DC: Textile Museum, 1984, pp. 50, Fig. 23.

Rowe, Ann Pollard. "Chimú Textiles," in Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks, edited by Elizabeth Hill Boone, Vol. 2, pp. 425-435. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 1996.

Loincloth, Chimú artist(s), Cotton, camelid hair, Chimú

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.