To Spin and Whorl: Functional and Symbolic Associations of Chancay Weaving Tools

Author(s): Jeffrey Splitstoser; Gabrielle Vail

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Textile Tools and Technologies as Evidence for the Fiber Arts in Precolumbian Societies" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Archaeological sources suggest that textiles from Chancay culture (ca. 1000-1470), occupying the central coastal region of Peru, were produced in large quantities. While they are ubiquitous in collections all over the world, they remain to be systematically studied, as do the tools that were used to make them. Along with textiles, weaving tools stored in reed baskets are commonly found in burial contexts. Included in the baskets are spindles, often wound with thread and with the whorls in position; balls of yarn; weaving battens; and other wooden implements used in the weaving process. Additionally, textile samplers from this period have also been found, adding to our knowledge of weaving methods and technologies.

Our focus will be on the spindles, which are often painted with bands of colors, and the whorls, which come in a variety of shapes and have incised and painted designs that may be either geometric or zoomorphic (with birds being seemingly common) in composition. In addition to being tools made with a specific purpose (i.e., the production of thread), their decoration also appears to have had a symbolic function, and it is this intersection that forms the core of our analysis.

Cite this Record

To Spin and Whorl: Functional and Symbolic Associations of Chancay Weaving Tools. Jeffrey Splitstoser, Gabrielle Vail. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451880)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23166