Panel, 1000/1476. Lambayeque; north coast, Peru. The Art Institute of Chicago, Kate S. Buckingham Endowment.
Over the course of millennia, textiles were the primary form of aesthetic expression and communication for the diverse cultures that developed throughout the desert coasts and mountain highlands of the Andean region. Worn as garments, suspended on walls of temples and homes, and used in ritual settings, textiles functioned in multiple contexts, yet, within each culture, the techniques, motifs, and messages remained consistent.
This exhibition features over 60 textiles along with a small selection of ceramics from the museum’s collection that together explore the ways select Andean cultures developed distinct textile technologies and approaches to design. While emphasizing the unique aspects of each culture and highlighting Andean artistic diversity, the exhibition also invites comparisons across cultures and time periods. These objects speak to shared ideas concerning everyday life, the natural world, the supernatural realm, and the afterlife, demonstrating a unified visual language that spans the Andes region from its ancient past to modern communities.