Cotton and pigment; plain weave
Overall: 48.9 x 19.6 cm (19 1/4 x 7 11/16 in.)
The Norweb Collection 1940.523
These masks fall into two categories, those with only a face and those with a full-bodied figure.
The Paracas people buried their dead in bundles that they created by carefully wrapping the seated human body in layers of garments and other textiles. In some cases, they placed a painted
cloth—such as these examples—on the outer layer and at the top of the bundle. The hair-like
yarns (unwoven warps) were arranged around a solid cotton disk that was sometimes wrapped
with a headband. The cloths, then, seem to have functioned as the bundle’s head, even though
some are painted not with faces but with complete figures whose supernatural character is marked by the appendages streaming from their bodies.
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