David Bernstein Fine Art is pleased to present a new exhibit of ancient Peruvian ceramics and textiles from the Paracas culture, c. 600 BC to AD 100. The exhibit, PARACAS: A Selection of Textiles and Ceramics, includes 40 museum quality Paracas and Proto-Nasca objects that were collected over the course of 30 years. We have also published an essay in conjunction with the exhibit to clarify some of the archaeological and cultural complexities of the various Paracas sites.
The Paracas artists were renowned for their ceramic and textile arts, which are considered among the most beautiful and intriguing from Ancient South America. Their cosmology was highly animist and focused on the spirit world, and their iconography included a diverse pantheon of gods, animal deities, superhuman shamans, and chimeric animals. Paracas ceramic vessels are expertly executed, portraying a combination of fierce and friendly deities and animal attendants. The ceramics differed slightly among the various burial sites throughout the Paracas cultural zone.
Paracas textiles, made from a variety of cotton, alpaca, and vicuna threads, also feature a broad range of beautiful colors and mythological imagery. Despite the harsh desert environment seemingly devoid of color, the Paracas weavers were able to create astoundingly rich color palettes. The elaborate nature of these artifacts and their placement in tombs implies an emphasis on the importance of the spirit world and the afterlife.
(Click "play" below any image for slideshow).