The curious case of Sir Henry Wellcome's wooden statuette clad in Wari tie-dyed cloth

Dransart, Penelope (2017) The curious case of Sir Henry Wellcome's wooden statuette clad in Wari tie-dyed cloth. PreColumbian Textile Conference VII / Jornadas de Textiles PreColombinos VII.

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A wooden statuette clad in small-scale garments made from a Wari style tie-dyed textile joined the collections of the City of Liverpool Public Museum (now National Museums Liverpool) in 1951 along with other items distributed by the trustees of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. This article discusses Wari style tie-dyed tunics as part of an ensemble of garments. It explores the character of the Wari period textile (c. AD 600-1000) used for dressing the statuette, its similarity to textiles in the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú, as well as the chronological mismatch between the style of the textile and that of the wooden figurine. Unless the statuette was made to order in recent times to be dressed in an ancient textile, it is perhaps Late Horizon (c. 1430 - 1532) in date. Sir Henry Wellcome acquired the statuette before his death in 1936, at a time when there was an emergent market in unprovenanced pre-Hispanic antiquities. The statuette is a composite figurine clad in bespoke garments made from an older textile. Its appearance bears witness to collecting practices which included modifying ancient artefacts to appeal to modern collectors and it destabilises simple understandings of what the dressed aspect of the statuette can convey to a museum visitor.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wari textiles, tie-dyed tunics, colour saturation, iconography, museums - collectors and collecting, artefact modification for the antiquities market
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
T Technology > TT Handicrafts Arts and crafts
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Penny Dransart
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 14:47
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2020 10:20

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