Tapestry Tunic Fragment



Tapestry Tunic Fragment




ca. 500 - 800 AD


Middle Horizon
South America, Central Andes, Central Coast
Tiwanaku, Wari-related


Camelid fiber, cotton
5 1/2 x 4 in. (14 x 10.2 cm)

Object Number



ThIs tapestry fragment is the remains of a tunic woven over 1300 years ago. It was worn by an administrative official in the Tiwanaku and Wari empires. Various patterns were painstakingly woven into Middle Horizon (500-800 AD) period tunics. This small fragment preserves only the hand and staff of the most common figure depicted in Tiwanaku and Wari art, a staff-bearing, winged, shamanic human-animal being. To create a complete tunic of this quality and design complexity, the weavers interlocked different colors of threads over a million and a half times; it likely took months, if not years, to finish such a textile masterpiece. More than six miles of thread were used in a complete tunic.

Credit Line

Ex coll. C. Clay and Virginia Aldridge


MCCM Newsletter, September - November 2002.|
Jane W. Rehl, Weaving Metaphors, Weaving Cosmos: Reflections of a Shamanic Worldview in Discontinuous Warp and Weft Textiles of Ancient Peru, 300 BCE - 1540 CE (Saarbrucken: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010), 234.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Michael McKelvey.
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On View



“Tapestry Tunic Fragment,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed December 10, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7556.

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