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Artist Culture
Early Horizon, c.900–200 BC
c.200 BC–AD 100
Camelid fiber
Probably from
Pisco, Ica province, Perú, South America
Costume & clothing, textiles
Current Location
Not on view
including fringe: 31 x 24 in. (78.7 x 61 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase, Friends Fund, and funds provided by the Maymar Corporation
Public Domain
Object Number
The embroidered designs on this woman's poncho feature geometric forms and feline figures-jaguars with fretted tails and smaller cats in profile. As the strongest and most dangerous cat in the Americas, the jaguar was highly venerated among the Paracas people of ancient Peru. Jaguars were associated with darkness and the underworld because they live in caves and hunt at night, often near water. Found with the mummified remains of its owner in a burial ground, this poncho is embroidered with jaguars that were probably intended to symbolically protect the deceased in her journey through the underworld. The jaguars' arched backs, open mouths, and wide stares give them a fearsome demeanor that would have intimidated any approaching evil.
- 1956
John Wise Ltd., New York, NY, USA

1956 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from John Wise Ltd. [1]

[1] An invoice from John Wise Ltd. dated March 21, 1956 documents the purchase of this object with 21-23:1956; listed as "Important Matched Set of Four Paracas Textiles (Peru - 500-1500 BC) including Turban, Skirt, Poncho, and Mantle." Additional documentation is found on a bill of sale dated July 20, 1956 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, March 8, 1956.
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