Friday, April 22, 2011

Dynamic Dualism

This week the LACMA acquired a Peruvian textile (more specifically a Mantle or Hanging from Peru, Inka (1450–1532) or early colonial period (16th century)). The piece represents the cosmological principle of dynamic dualism in which "the universe was organized of contrasting but complementary opposites, and balance was attained by the interchange between the two."

At first glance it looks like your basic red and white one-patch quilt. Or a simple woven checkerboard. But it was created using a weaving method called discontinuous warp and weft which Kaye Spilker, Curator, Costume and Textiles, describes well.
Woven in a meticulous technique in which neither warps nor wefts extend across the entire cloth, the textile was created with “scaffold” threads (which were later removed) that formed a temporary grid upon which to weave each miniscule square, less than an inch in size, separately. The fabric was assembled by the process of interlocking the warps and wefts of each adjacent square—forming a single cloth from the sum of many parts. In the history of world textiles, the multifaceted technique of discontinuous warp and weft was practiced only in the Andes.
The post also includes a diagram of the weaving method.

The post relates the Inka textile to Agnes Martin's work. Its orthogonal design reminded me of Gerhard Richter's "1024 Farben" (1974) that I glanced in the New York Times this morning. But its color scheme reminded me of the red and white quilts exhibit everyone raved about.

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1 comment:

Thalia said...

Sounds a bit like entrelac knitting - but more complex. Amazing to think of the technique involved.