Quantcast
Feathered Walls: Hangings from Ancient Peru

Feathered Hanging (detail), 7th–8th century. Peru. Wari. Feathers on cotton, camelid hair. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.470)


The exhibition is made possible by the Friends of the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Feathered Walls

Hangings from Ancient Peru

September 16, 2013–May 12, 2014

Twelve spectacular feather panels—probably hangings—made by the Wari peoples of southern Peru between about 600 and 1000 comprise this installation. Made of finely woven cotton cloth and measuring about seven by two feet on average, the panels are completely covered with the small iridescent body feathers of the blue and yellow macaw in an arresting design of large rectangles. They rank among the most luxurious and unusual works created by textile artists in Peru prior to the Spanish conquest in 1532.

The panels were reportedly part of a group of ninety-six excavated in 1943 by local people near the village of La Victoria in the Ocoña Valley, where it joins with the Churunga Valley on the far south coast of Peru. The find is considered the largest discovery of feather arts in ancient Peru. Said to have been found rolled up in large ceramic jars decorated with mythological imagery, many of the panels are remarkably well preserved.