Nazca "Turbante" with Stick Figures
c.400 AD, Nazca culture, 18 x 210 cm (enlarge for full view)
The central icon of this stunning mantle border is the shamanic figure of the Ocucaje (the Oculate Deity), an essential iconography of Pre-Columbian arts in the southern Ica Valley of Peru, especially during the Paracas-Nazca period. It is characterised by its highly stylised frontal body and daring expression.
The arts of the Andes are renowned for its surreal and versatile rendering of earthly beings, which is connected to the Andes’ ritual belief. In the Pre-Columbian cosmology, human and other zoomorphic beings are equally transformative and spiritual, who serve as mortal forms of the divine nature. Part anatomical, part transcendental in its fluidity, the floating body parts and facials represents a vital link to the Nazca visual lexicon that transfers the aggressiveness and powers to the Tunic’s owner. The omnipresent motif of the dual headed snake is the result of the “Contour Rivalry”—a weaving style that emerged in late Chavan and matured in the Nazca period. Besides its abundant figurative symbols, this piece also incorporates geometric composition that refers to the architectural wonders of the Andes, such as the Akapana pyramids and the Inti cross, making it one of the rarest piece of Nazca tunic in a stylised semi-abstracted style.