Art/ Collection/ Art Object


2nd–1st century B.C.
Camelid hair
H. 54 1/4 x W. 74 3/8 in. (188.9 x 137.8cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Rosetta and Louis Slavitz, 1986
Accession Number:
Not on view
Images of twelve "oculate beings" are worked into this mantle by a technique called sprang, which replicates the pattern in mirror image on either side of the vertical center. The oculate beings are composed of stylized frontal heads with concentrically ringed eyes (from which they get their name) and semierect spotted bodies. They stand in two horizontal registers, alternately right side up and upside down across the width of the mantle. Their heads, too, can be read two ways, indicating yet again the visual complexity of which the ancient Peruvians were capable. The mantle is an early example of a textile type thought to be a man's cloaklike garment that was long in use in Precolumbian Peru. Fully articulated by the late centuries B.C.E., mantles continued to be made until long after the Spanish conquest of the sixteenth century. A number of complete early mantles are known from Ocucaje in the southern Ica Valley, the source of this example. It is one of the largest Peruvian textiles made in sprang, a technique in which there is no weft and the pattern is produced by hand manipulation of the warp. Openwork Ocucaje mantles had a funerary function.
Rosetta and Louis Slavitz, New York, before 1979, until 1986

Frame, Mary. Ancient Peruvian Mantles, 300 B.C.–A.D. 200. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995, no. 4, p. 2, fig. 1.

Related Objects

Border Fragment

Artist: Date: 450–175 B.C.
Accession Number: 1994.35.120
Date: 450–175 B.C. Medium: Cotton, camelid hair Accession: 1994.35.120 On view in:Not on view

Tunic with Confronting Mythical Serpents

Artist: Date: 800–850
Accession Number: 29.146.23
Date: 800–850 Medium: Camelid hair Accession: 29.146.23 On view in:Not on view

Woman's Dress

Artist: Date: 14th–early 16th century
Accession Number: 1995.109
Date: 14th–early 16th century Medium: Camelid hair Accession: 1995.109 On view in:Not on view


Artist: Date: 7th–9th century
Accession Number: 1987.394.706
Date: 7th–9th century Medium: Camelid hair, cotton Accession: 1987.394.706 On view in:Not on view

Feline-Head Bottle

Artist: Date: 9th–5th century B.C.
Accession Number: 1978.412.203
Date: 9th–5th century B.C. Medium: Ceramic, postfired paint Accession: 1978.412.203 On view in:Gallery 357