Poncho with central medallion and double-headed birds

Spanish Colonial
17th–18th century
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General Description

The convergence of Andean and European cultures that marked the Spanish-Colonial period was distinctively expressed through Peruvian

tapestry-woven textiles. As a weaving technique, tapestry had a distinguished history in the Andes, used for the finest elite textiles, or cumbi (qompi). This particular tapestry represents one of the most common types of colonial textiles, with concentric borders filled with animals and flowers and decorated by an outer ball-fringe design. The central medallion, decorative borders, flora and fauna reflect influences from Asian carpets, while the double-headed birds resemble the heraldic eagles of the Spanish Habsburg kings. Many ball-fringe and related tapestries served as hangings or furniture coverings. The woven opening in the central medallion of this tapestry indicates that it served as a poncho, an untailored male garment similar to Andean tunics, or uncu. The poncho thus reflects a dynamic

hybridity of Andean technique and media with European and Asian motifs and styles.

Adpated from

Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, Label text, 2015.