Object of the Month

Textile fragment depicting hummingbirds, Peru


This border looks like it is knitted as a 'free structure', but it is actually embroidered using a cross-knit loop stitch, which closely resembles knitting. The embroidered surface is probably a cotton textile. The fragment was produced with dyed animal fibre from llamas, alpacas or vicunas (all members of the camelid family) which absorbs dye more easily than cotton, producing more vivid colours. This object, still with its vibrant colours, dates to the Early Intermediate Period (400 BC -AD 500) and was excavated in Nazca, Peru.

Purchased at auction in 1934; 1934.70.39

Find this object in a new display of World Archaeology in the Upper Gallery as part of the VERVE: Need / Make / Use project.