Skip to Content
Fragment Tunic Fragment Tunic

Virtual Lecture: Inca Textiles under Colonial Rule



Admission actions

  • Free, registration required

Inca textiles—especially tapestry-woven tunics—are some of the finest cloth ever created in the ancient Andes of South America. However, the violent conquest of the Inca Empire by Spanish forces dramatically changed Inca society, their artistic traditions, and the clothes that they wore. Two enigmatic fragments of an Inca tunic in the Art Institute’s collection illustrate this history.

Join Andrew Hamilton, associate curator of Arts of the Americas, in an exploration of these unique works, on view in Gallery 136 through spring 2022.

B14e66c6 5d57 7949 84f4 D55e57e703a6

Fragment (Tunic), 1532/1700

Inca; probably Cuzco or Lake Titicaca region, southern highlands, Peru. Bessie Bennett Endowment

In this talk, you will come to understand the appearance and usage of the original tunic; the tunic’s elusive designs, called tocapus in Quechua; the European design influences manifested in the garment; and how an elite Indigenous man might have worn such a tunic to express his nobility under colonial rule. Most importantly, this talk will illuminate the knowledge and skills of the tunic’s weavers and show how their work upheld long-standing Inca techniques while also inventing new ones in response to their much-changed lives in the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Please note that all event times listed are in central time.

We recommend using a laptop or desktop computer and downloading the latest version of Zoom to enjoy this program.

If you have any questions about virtual programming, please reach out to

Closed captioning will be available for this program. For questions related to accessibility accommodations, please email


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions