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Feathered Tunic

Cream-colored tunic with stylized birds, cats, and geometric border.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Cream-colored tunic with stylized birds, cats, and geometric border.




Peru, south coast, Possibly Nazca Valley,

About this artwork

One of the most extraordinary works in the Art Institute’s archaeological textile collection, this feathered tunic was created by Chimú weavers in northern Peru in 1470/1532. The knee-length, sleeveless garment is composed of a plain-weave cotton cloth completely concealed by thousands of brightly colored feathers. These coveted plumes were taken from macaws, parrots, toucans, cotingas, and tanagers from the tropical forests of South America. Because they were transported across the treacherous peaks of the Andes, the feathers were extremely rare and valuable and would only have been available to the most elite members of pre-Hispanic society. Thus, the feathered tunic—with its stylized felines, birds, and fish—would have been a sumptuous emblem of power, wealth, and prestige. Like many other pre-Hispanic textiles, it was buried with its owner in a subterranean tomb on the southern coast of Peru. The dark and arid conditions in these tombs protected the tunic, thereby allowing its vibrant colors and bold motifs to endure.


Currently Off View






Feathered Tunic


Peru (Object found in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1470–1532


Cotton, plain weave; embellished with feathers knotted and attached with cotton in overcast stitches


85.1 × 86 cm (33 1/2 × 33 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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