170 BC-AD 70 (radiocarbon date, 95% probability)
Cotton and pigment (field); camelid fiber (borders and fringe)
Overall: 69.8 x 280.7 cm (27 1/2 x 110 1/2 in.); Mounted: 78.7 x 290.2 cm (31 x 114 1/4 in.)
The Norweb Collection 1940.530
Characteristics of the pampas cat and the emperor tamarin monkey are visible in the marching figures.
Experts agree that this cloth is one of the greatest paintings to survive from Andean antiquity due to the realism, complexity, large size, and refined execution of its figures. All but one of the figures wear the whiskered mouth mask of Nasca supernatural beings and several carry or wear severed human heads, which the Nasca linked to nature’s fruitfulness. Thus, the figures seem to represent supernatural forces or humans personifying such forces during a ritual devoted to agricultural fertility. Originally, the panel was attached along its upper edge to a dark blue cloth of equal size. The complete textile may have served as a mantle (a shawl-like garment), a hanging, or a funerary offering.
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