Friday, 18 October 2013

Digging Deeper: Ychsma textiles from a Late Horizon burial at Armatambo

For this month's Digging Deeper we are travelling to South America, specifically Peru, to learn about the Ychsma textile style during the Late Horizon. An excavation in 1982 at Armatambo provided the basis for describing the Ychsma textile style during this period and is the subject of the most popular article in the Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of Andean Archaeology online archive, 'Ychsma textiles from a Late Horizon burial at Armatambo' by Mary Frame, Francisco Vallejo, Mario Ruales, and Walter Tosso. The textile data (types of garments, images, design lay-out, fibers, fabric structures, yarn spin, colors, etc.) are extensive enough to distinguish many types of Ychsma-style garments from those of other styles, and to identify similar textiles in museum collections.

The valleys of the Rímac and Lurín rivers were inhabited by the Ychsma polity prior to the Inca and they are known for having built some 40 pyramids associated to the irrigation system of the valleys. They are not known, unfortunately, for their textile style "due to the intensive looting of archaeological sites during the past five centuries".

"Ethnohistoric sources indicate that the señorío of Ychsma occupied the lower and middle sections of the Rimac and Lurín Valleys of coastal Peru during the Late Intermediate Period and Late Horizon. According to Rostworowski (1990), the sub-groups that comprised the señorío shared a common language or dialect and mythical origin, as well as a shared style of dress. In 1982, just ahead of the bulldozer, three of the co-authors of the present article excavated a tomb that contained many fancy textiles in the local style. This important context provides a basis for describing the elite Ychsma textile style during the Late Horizon...burial contexts with concentrations of textiles in the elite local style are rare."

"Textiles recovered by archaeologists in the course of
long-term excavation projects at Pachacamac include plain and checked textiles from a Late Intermediate Period burial, as well as more elaborate textiles that have been identified as Ychsma. The published textiles provide useful data on fibers, colors, and structures of specific Ychsma textiles, but the small number of examples gives a limited picture of the style. Attempts to separate Ychsma textiles without provenience (sometimes referred to as “Rimac” or “Pachacamac” style) from other styles have highlighted certain distinctive types of textiles, such as cotton tapestries, but again, the picture of the style is far from complete."

 >> Read the full article for free

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