Color, Structure, and Society in the Tiwanaku State

Author(s): Sarah Baitzel

Year: 2016


In the Andes, weaving and wearing cloth are essential for shaping identity and social relations. The weavers of the south-central Andean Tiwanaku state (Middle Horizon period A.D.500-1100) possessed knowledge of plant and animal fibers, weave techniques, dyes, and iconography which allowed them to produce a wide range of textiles, from the monochrome cloths of daily life to the vibrantly colored tapestries. Examining textile evidence from burials at the provincial center of Omo M10 (Moquegua, Peru), this study aims to understand how color choices and patterns related to the structure and design not only of Tiwanaku textiles, but also society. How did the range of natural and dyed colors figure into the layout of warp-striped or tapestry garments? How did concepts of complementarity and dualism, which were central to the structure of Tiwanaku society, influence the color and structure choices involved in the different qualities of cloth manufacture? By integrating new data on color and structure from provenienced Tiwanaku textiles with current archaeological models of social organization and identity in the Tiwanaku state, I hope to shed new light on the role and importance of color in the material practice of the ancient Andes.

Cite this Record

Color, Structure, and Society in the Tiwanaku State. Sarah Baitzel. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403317)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;