About this artwork
The central scene woven into this panel displays a bird-headed anthropomorphic figure with a crescent-shaped headdress, possibly representing the otherworldly figure known as the Sicán Deity or a human impersonator of this legendary leader of the Lambayeque. In this depiction, the figure holds a ceremonial knife, called a tumi, and is engaged in a brutal ritual human sacrifice, likely a decapitation. Another victim hangs by a long rope wrapped around his neck. The borders and horizontal bands of this panel reiterate the theme of human sacrifice as they contain repeated depictions of trophy heads or bound captives—most likely, enemy warriors taken in battle.
The two additional scenes above and below display composite amphibian-butterflies that may allude to metamorphosis or hallucinogens involved in the sacrificial ritual.
- Currently Off View
- Made 1000–1476
- Two panels joined: cotton and wool (camelid), slit and single dovetailed tapestry weave with eccentric and wrapping outlining wefts; one panel embroidered with laced running stitches
- 60.3 × 14 cm (23 3/4 × 5 1/2 in.)
- Kate S. Buckingham Endowment