The textile offered here dates back to a period from 900-1200 A.D. and is attributed to the ancient Pre-Spanish Chimu / Chancay Culture. It is a COMPLETE AND INTACT woven sash belt and of the dozen plus pieces we acquired from the museum de-accession, this specimen was THE FINEST AND RAREST of the group! Very, very seldom are COMPLETE ancient garments found on the market. This is not a fragment of textile, it is the entire garment as meant to be worn!!! Professionally framed in a heavy wood and glass setting, this ancient garment shows a dense, masterfully executed weave with ends of red and brown woven decoration.
A multitude of questions remain unanswered regarding the advanced technology that Pre-Columbian native peoples possessed prior to Spanish contact. With amazing feats of megalithic construction as well as enigmas such as the "lines of Nazca", many believe "visitors from the stars" had contact with these ancient people. Many of the textiles they created depict creatures that defy any explanation and oddly, look incredibly alien-like. Throughout time, human craft often memorializes contemporary times of the craftsman. Could these decorated textiles they wove be honoring something they actually saw in their day?
A weaving such as this would have been reserved for only the most noble and elite of their day. Large intact South American Pre-Columbian textiles are rare. Most for sale are small cut swatches of burial clothes of mummies that are purposely cut for market. A great number are restored either with modern dye, or modern cloth is woven in and colored to imitate the original fabric. This specimen is 100% original and has had nothing done to it. Unlike most Pre-Columbian textiles seen for sale, this specimen has NOT been enhanced with any modern dye or re-sewing. Still encased in the original museum glass-top case numbered to the original museum inventory card and photo which will be included. This spectacular and luxurious ancient textile also comes with a letter from the museum documenting the decommission sale.
Anyone that has been collecting artifacts for a while knows how rare it is for a museum to de-commission a piece from their collection and offer it on the public market. This is one of those very rare opportunities to acquire a Pre-Columbian object with solid provenance. This ancient textile was formerly in the museum collection of Bernard "Bud" Lueck who assembled his collection of historical objects of the Americas and founded the Heritage of the Americas Museum which is in operation today in El Cajon, California, U.S.A.. This specimen was formerly an inventoried item in the museum collection, and its sale by us includes the original typed museum inventory card along with the original museum photograph of this piece. It also includes a letter issued by the museum to document the sale. While the museum continues today, its beloved founder, Mr. Lueck, passed away in 2005 at the age of 85. This piece was most likely acquired by him some time from the late 1950's to early 1960's according to past provenance notes. We have over a dozen specimens of this museum de-commission event and once sold, it is certain an opportunity like this will not be repeated.
The western coastal desert region of South America is considered the most arid place on our planet. Because of this, it has protected ancient objects n near perfect preservation where most other regions of the world would have claimed them to rot and decay. One of the most famous historical artifacts of Pre-Spanish archaeology in this region is ancient textiles of the former native American empires that once thrived there over 1000 years ago. Preserved as if many were made just yesterday, these woven textiles shed amazing insight on the mind, beliefs and practices of this ancient peoples. In their world, these woven fabrics were prized greater than gold or silver. The possession of these colorful and intricately woven textiles were a show to all that their owners were amongst the most noble and richest members of the society of that day.
The ancient textiles of this region and peoples were made up of hand spun and woven fibers. These fibers were either cotton or the wool of indigenous camelids that included the llama, alpaca, guanaco and vicuna. Some textiles were made of dyed fibers, used alternatively with different colors to create patterns. Some textiles were woven of a few or single primary color with the design hand-painted on the cloth after the weaving was completed. Other textiles were embroidered and even appliqués of gold or silver were added within the weaving. Aside from burial mantles, woven garments included sleeveless shirts with or without fringes, small ponchos, tunics and loincloths.
Formal excavations at many of these Pre-Columbian cemeteries revealed that the many of the individual mummies were interred with only a single rough cotton wrapping. Others were wrapped with one or two ordinary cotton cloths, devoid of design or color. The richest graves consisted of individuals elaborately wrapped with two or three mantles decorated with patterns, colorful dyes and even more rarely, with embroidered borders of intricate designs.
The design and iconography of the textiles of ancient west coastal South America sheds light upon the societal, economic and religious institutions that their world was based upon. Some of the imagery appears as if the artisans were recording actual events in the fabric. Other designs were possibly evidence of weavers documenting astronomical observations or religious prophecies. The surreal and intriguing figures and designs leave us with more wonder and mystery of these enigmatic peoples than they explain.