Introducing the Peru Mantle

When I started planning for this project, I didn’t know that this July would be the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu. But it’s nice to have another historical Incan link for this project.

This is a partial photo of a burial mantle that was woven and embroidered sometime between 0 – A.D. 100. The Peru coasters that I did last year were from about 500 B. C. Like the coasters, this textile was woven with camelid fiber – alpaca (vicuna, llama, or guanaco are also camelids). This particular piece is from the Paracas area of Southern Peru. Many of these burial wrappings were found by grave robbers about 1700 years after they were buried. The photo below is from a book Judy Harper sent me last year – To Weave for the Sun: Andean Textiles in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The solid color cloth is woven and then embroidered, typically. There were times when some of the larger elements of the design were woven into the textile and then details were embroidered later. I will be using this method. The actual background color in the photo above is dark blue, but looks black. I’ve decided to use black 13 count canvas with black, orange, yellow, and a little green Silk & Ivory for my stitching. After the major design elements are stitched, I’ll go back and use Trio to add details to the larger motifs and to add some smaller motifs. The Incans actually used Stem Stitch to do this, so I will try to follow their example.

If you click on the photo above, you should be able to see the wonderful details in this piece. There are large Ocular Beings (named for the big eyes) and many cats across the bottom of the mantle. Some of the cats have smaller cats embroidered inside them. The bands that are vertical have smaller faces and cats all over. This should be a fun piece to stitch. I’ve got the canvas ready to go, the Silk & Ivory is waiting, and the larger elements have all been plotted on the computer. I hope to get started in a day or two.

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4 responses to “Introducing the Peru Mantle

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