Cloak made of horse's skin, with dark brown hair on one side, the smooth side carrying painted patterns in red, yellow, blue and black enclosed in ornamental border of same colours.
- Length: 179 centimetres
- Width: 185 centimetres
Given 22/6/1904 by P.E.Tarver, of Mendoza, [Argentina].McEwan 2009
As in other nomadic hunting cultures of the Americas, the preparation and painting of hide cloaks is a millennia-long tradition on the vast expanses of the Patagonian steppe grasslands. The painted designs have roots far back in prehistoric times, for similar motifs has been interpreted as a symbolic expression of kinship ties and group solidarity among the Aonikenk and their forebears. Originally the cloaks were made by sewing together as many as as a dozen skins of young guanaco (Lama guanicoe), prized for their suppleness and warmth. With the introduction of the horse by European colonists, sinle hides painted with red, yellow and blue mineral began to be produced, perhaps in response to trading opprtunities rather than as a practical item of apparel for the makers.
1997, London, Museum of Mankind, 'Patagonia: The Uttermost End of the Earth'
10 August 1997
Light clean (Wishab, vacuum) both sides. Remove indelible pen marks if possible.* Relax folds. *NB - record time spent
Dirty. Creased along fold lines. Painted side had been accidentally marked with black ink in a few places. (Original pen was sent with object.)
Both sides cleaned using brush and vacuum cleaner. Painted side surface cleaned using Wishab sponge (vulcanized latex,filler), after testing stability of ink. Wishab debris removed using vacuum cleaner. Behaviour of black ink under high RH tested using scrap of skin with similar physical properties. Apparently stable, so object was humidified. Placed over a piece of Goretex (polytetrafluoro ethylene,polyester laminate), which had been first sprayed with distilled water, then enclosed in polythene sheet. Monitored for 6 hours, by which time cloak had relaxed sufficiently to ease out some creases. Allowed to dry, with glass weights placed over creased areas. Tested solubility of ink (on scrap of skin) in Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol), acetone and white spirit. White spirit fairly successful, and further testing demonstrated it to be safe on paint, if used with care. Most of ink marks removed using cotton-wool swabs moistened with white spirit. Remaining marks disguised by lightly applying dry powder pigments of suitable colours to match surrounding areas of object. NB Time taken for removal of ink marks - 1 hr (see requistion)
Africa, Oceania & the Americas
- Am1904C3.97 (old CDMS no.)
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Object reference number: ESA8263
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