Mantle with condors
- 300–100 BCE
In the funerary bundles recovered from Paracas burials, layer upon layer of handwoven garments wrapped each body. The largest and most impressive of the Paracas textiles is the mantle, which was worn as a shoulder cloth. In this example, two pieces of dark blue cloth were seamed together to form the ground cloth, onto which red squares and a wide, bird‑patterned border were embroidered. As in other ancient Andean textiles, the vibrantly colored yarns were spun from the hair of the llama, alpaca, or vicuna, animals of the Camelidae family native to the Andean highlands. The embroidered birds may represent male condors as suggested by their ruff of feathers (shown as a white collar) and outspread wings. The birds are repeated with a change in vertical orientation in the squares and a change in both orientation and scale in the border, characteristic Andean textile devices for achieving variety with a single motif.
Bonnie Pitman, ed., "Mantle with birds (1972.4.McD)," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 25.