Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium (2004)


Presented at “Appropriation • Acculturation • Transformation,” Textile Society of America 9th Biennial Symposium, Oakland, California, October 7-9, 2004. Copyright 2004 Textile Society of America.


The pre-Columbian Andean material culture record is especially crucial for trying to understand social organization because Andean societies apparently did not employ what Europeans recognized as “writing.” The evidence contained in the objects themselves thus bears a larger burden in helping scholars analyze how social life was structured to enable a huge volume of cultural production. For pre-Columbian textiles in particular, the analysis of embroidered figures and their relationship to the ground fabric on which they were positioned has played crucial roles. In effective and original ways, Anne Paul used the evidence in textile objects, especially from the Paracas culture, to further our understanding of social organization as well as aesthetic choices. In this paper, I discuss how several aspects of her analytical approach can be applied to Inka and colonial period textiles, especially those that combine woven structures and techniques (notably, tapestry) with embroidery.