The Huari people were master weavers. This fine tunic, composed of two long, thin textiles sewn together lengthwise, is tightly woven with brightly dyed and finely spun llama or alpaca wool. Bands of interlocking wedge shapes feature abstract profile feline faces and curls. The Huari Empire flourished in the Andes Mountains more than a thousand years ago, from about 650 to 900 AD. The city of Huari was located northwest of present-day Cuzco, Peru, in the Ayacucho Valley, but its cultural and militaristic power extended far to the north and west into the mountains. Llamas and alpacas were the only large domesticated animals of the ancient Americas. Called camelids because they are cousins to the camel, they were essential to Andean thought and life. Their wool was used for clothing and rope, their hide for shoes, and their fat for candles and offerings. These animals were also sacrificed to please the gods. In this textile, lines descending from the eyes of the faces represent feline stripes, a popular motif in Huari art. The curls backed with stepped designs were also a favorite design. Spinning the yarn and weaving such finely made textiles required dedication and great skill.


Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Artist
Wari (Huari)
Title
Tunic
Date
650–900 AD
Medium
Camelid fibers
Dimensions
Overall: 41 1/4 × 41 1/2 in. (104.8 × 105.4 cm)
Credit Line

Gift of Alfred C. Glassell, Jr.

Current Location
The Caroline Wiess Law Building
210M JONES GALLERIES
Accession Number
2010.1072
Classification
Textiles
Provenance

Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. (1913–2008), Houston, by at least 1967–until d. 2008 [1]; Estate of Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., 2008–2010; given to MFAH, 2010. [1] Glassell Album #4 photograph precedes slide dated "DEC 67."