Tie-Dye Textile Fragment



Tie-Dye Textile Fragment




ca. 500- 800 AD


Middle Horizon
South America, Central Andes, Central Coast (?)


Camelid fiber, natural dyes
14 1/4 x 13 in. (36.2 x 33 cm)

Object Number



During the Middle Horizon (ca. 500-800 AD), the ancient technique of tie-dye and a unique weaving process called discontinuous warp and weft (dww) were innovatively combined by the Wari [WHAH ree] empire. Mantles and hangings resemble patchwork, yet the creation of these unique garments and ritual cloths did not involve cutting and sewing scraps together. In dww the individual color areas are separately woven, shaped textile units. Temporary threads crisscrossing the loom held the structural warp threads in place so they could turn back into their own unit. When the scaffolds were removed, the dynamically shaped, complete textiles could be tie-dyed in various color combinations (using natural dyes from plants, such as blue from the indigofera bush, and animals, such as red from the cochineal beetle). Then the brightly colored pieces were reassembled, with contrasting colors adjacent. This example is a fragment of a much larger cloth. Nevertheless, it speaks to us of the extraordinary creativity and inventiveness characteristic of the ancient Andean textile tradition.

Credit Line

Ex coll. C. Clay and Virginia Aldridge


MCCM Newsletter, September - November 2002.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2014.
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On View



“Tie-Dye Textile Fragment,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 19, 2019, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7954.

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