Tapestry-woven (weft-patterned) camelid wool
L. 45 1/2 in. (115.6 cm), W. 50 1/2 in. (128.3 cm)
Ex coll.: Vitall Benguiat
Rogers Fund, 1908 (08.108.10)
In Peru traditional attire for Inca noblewomen included a rectangular dress and a shoulder mantle that wrapped around the body. The mantle, or lliclla, was woven with the finest materials, including silk-like yarn spun from the fleece of the native alpaca. During the colonial era, these mantles were worn as wedding garments, notably for marriages between Spanish administrators and Inca noblewomen that were undertaken to form strategic political alliances. This mantle, woven for a woman of Inca descent, incorporates designs from both worlds: the border of geometric tocapu, symbolic of Inca rank and privilege, and a field of an interlacing lattice motif, especially popular in silk brocades favored by the Spanish elite.