- Museum number
Coca bag (chuspa); bottom selvedges sewn together with whipping stitch; decorative zigzag stitching up sides; opening of bag: camelid looping at top, below which is border of cotton looping; body: tapestry; cotton warps and camelid wefts; double-bird motifs and geometric motifs, all outlined in black; tassel of coloured camelid yarns attached to both bottom corners. Red, tan, indigo, pink, dark green, black, white wool; buff cotton.
- Production date
Length: 34 centimetres (including tassels)
Width: 26 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Register addition "Peru".
Register addition "Chancay".
Comparable material: Am1954,05.524.
McEwan 2009, p.69
Red bag with double headed bird motif. Dyed cotton and wool. Ica, Peru, 10th-15th century AD
This bag is woven from a blend of cotton and camelid wool, the product of trade and exchange between the Peruvian south coast and the adjacent highlands. Cotton was one of the earliest domesticated crops and thrives in the coastal valleys. Altiplano herders managed huge numbers of llamas and alpacas, and as well as supplying meat and wool they were the main means of transport. Although it is a little larger than most used for this purpose, the bag may have served to hold coca leaves.
Masticating a quid of coca leaves with lime powder helped mitigate the exhaustion and stress brought on by sustained physical effort, especially at high altitude.
Decorative zigzag stitching runs down the sides of the bag and tassels of coloured camelid wool yarn are attached at the bottom corners. A repetitive pattern of double-headed bird motifs runs upwards and downwards in alternating rows picked out in a range of light and dark blue, lilac and pink, with a bold black outline. These are framed by bands of geometric motifs so that the design covers the whole available surface.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2021-2022 11 Nov-20 Feb, London, BM, G35, Peru: a journey in time
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number