Chimu Stripe Tunic
Chimu culture, c.1200 AD
Woven, camelid fibres, 140 x 120 cm
This tunic bears a bold striped colour field composition, one of the many geometric forms that became predominant in the early Nazca and later Huari period. Here the monochromatic stripes create a large-scale almost optical structure. The ancient Andean artists endlessly exploited the multiple possibilities of strips, squares and rectangles. This well-preserved tunic brings us clearly into the field of Abstract arts or Colour-Field art. We should not discard the possibility that this stunning abstract design was not merely the creation of people whose sharp eyes have the intuitive sense of colour, composition, and uncompromising originality. Rather, it was also an aesthetic solution which happens to coincide with our own criteria of beauty in the twentieth century.