170 BC-AD 70 (radiocarbon date, 95% probability)
Plain warp-faced cloth, painted: cotton
Overall: 58.5 x 18.8 cm (23 1/16 x 7 3/8 in.)
The Norweb Collection 1940.522
These masks fall into two categories, those with only a face and those with a full-bodied figure.
The Paracas people of Peru's South Coast buried their dead in pear-shaped mummy bundles made of a seated human body carefully wrapped in garments and other textiles. Sometimes a painted cloth was placed at the top of the bundle, as though it served as the bundle's face, head, or "mask." The cloth was padded on the back so it curved outward like a face, and the tress-like yarns (unwoven warps) at the upper edge were arranged around a solid cotton disk that, in turn, was wrapped with a headband. Some cloths were painted with mask-like faces, and others with full figures, apparently mythical creatures.
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