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a woven geometric pattern of predominantly green with some orange and beige threads

Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art

Candela, Iria and Joanne Pillsbury
48 pages
56 illustrations
8.5 x 11 in
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Expanding the understanding of textile and fiber arts, this edition of the Bulletin features two distinct bodies of work that are intimately connected despite being separated by hundreds of years. Placing ancient Andean textiles from South America by unknown artists in conversation with works by global modern practitioners—such as Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney, and Olga de Amaral—Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art shows how both traditions harnessed the structure of the loom to create dynamic geometric designs. The 50 extraordinary pieces in this volume span over 2000 years and illustrate weaving’s complex and varied ways of conveying meaning, from stunning iconography to bold structural choices. In highlighting the aesthetic and cultural choices of both ancient and modern artists, this publication elevates textile arts beyond mere ornament to assert their role in the history of art past and present.

Textile Fragment, Chavín artist(s), Cotton, refined iron earth pigments, Chavin
4th–3rd century BCE
Border fragment, figures with staves, Camelid hair, Paracas
4th–3rd century BCE
Border Fragment, Cotton, camelid hair, Paracas
450–175 BCE
Headband, Nasca artist, Camelid fiber, Nasca
6th–7th century
Headband with ornamental tassels, Nasca artist, Camelid hair, Nasca
6th–8th century
Embroidered bag with fringe, Nasca artist, Camelid hair, Nasca
7th century
Embroidered bag with fringe, Nasca artist, Camelid hair, Nasca
7th century
Embroidered bag with fringe, Nasca artist, Camelid hair, Nasca
7th century
Tapestry Tunic, Camelid wool, Wari
7th–9th century
Tunic, Cotton, camelid hair, Wari
7th–11th century
Feathered Panel, Feathers, cotton, camelid hair, Wari
600–900 CE
Miniature Dress, Ica artist, Cotton, feathers, Ica
12th–13th century
Man's Tunic, Camelid and cotton fibers, Central Coast
Central Coast
1000–1476 CE
Headcloth, Chancay artist(s), Cotton, Chancay
12th–15th century
Loincloth, Chimú artist(s), Cotton, camelid hair, Chimú
12th–15th century
Hanging, Chimú artist(s), Cotton, Chimú
12th–15th century
Crown, Lambayeque (Sicán) artist(s), Gold, Lambayeque (Sicán)
900–1100 CE
Tunic, Inca artist, Camelid fiber, Inca
16th century
Tunic, Chuquibamba artist, Camelid hair, cotton, Inca
Shirt, Central Coast artist, Camelid hair, cotton, Peru; central coast (?)
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Candela, Iria, and Joanne Pillsbury. 2023. “Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art.” Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin.