c.200 BC, Sihuas culture
Woven, camelid fibres, 95 x 94 cm
This striking and rare mantle depicts a central stylised human face. Projecting appendages that form the outlines of a larger human form , the rendering is accented by conventionalised human heads in the upper and lower bands.
This highly stylised Sihuas mantle shows yet again the simplification and sophisticated geometricisation of these textiles, particularly in the later parts of the civilisation’s chronology. This panel shows an abstracted deity with rays emanating from it. It would have been oriented vertically, with the small squares in the central white square standing in as eyes, with abstracted tears flowing from them. Although the precise meaning of these weeping eyes is not well-understood, it was common in the iconography of later Nazca and other cultures. Variants of this rayed deity are some of the most characteristic iconographies of the Sihuas culture, with their degree of detail and realism varying significantly.