Diamond waistband tunic fragment

Inca (Inka)
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General Description

This “diamond waistband” tunic fragment reflects the high standardization of Inca tapestry textiles. It bears a zigzag embroidery at the base, as well as a striped selvedge, or edge, completion. Unlike the other tapestry-woven Inca uncu, however, the “diamond waistband” tunics regularly utilize cotton warps with camelid fiber wefts. The cotton use may suggest a coastal origin, as well as potentially signify lesser prestige in Inca society. Diamond waistband tunics have been recovered from both high-altitude capacocha burials and coastal ritual centers, such as Pachacamac, confirming their status in Late Horizon (1400-1532 CE) textile production. Fragments of these tunics were preserved and reused—for example, as coca bags—suggesting that the diamond band maintained social value beyond the tunic itself.

Adapted from

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