|From the harsh Bolivian highlands to the deserts of Chile to the
coasts of Peru, the Tiwanaku people ruled a vast territory for more
than a thousand years. Then they disappeared abruptly, leaving
behind one of South America's most spectacular archaeological sites.
Unlock the mysteries of this powerful yet little-known culture through
its intricate textiles, bold ceramics, rare gold and silver, and finely
carved wood and stone sculptures. All amazingly well preserved,
these objects reveal a rich culture and a fascinating, sometimes
violent tradition of sacred rituals and human sacrifice.
October 16, 2004 through
January 23, 2005
Denver Art Museum
|Snuff trays were used to prepare hallucinogenic drugs for sacrificial rites. The sacrificer,
who holds a severed human head, stands on a stepped structure that recalls Tiwanaku
Snuff Tray with Sacrificer, A.D. 200-800, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Museo R.P.
Gustavo Le Paige, S.J., San Pedro de Atacama.
|The Wari people of central Peru had strong ties to Tiwanaku, and objects from the two
cultures are so similar in style that they’re often confused. This high-ranking Wari figure
wears a tie-dyed tunic and rides in a litter, a platform carried on poles.
Masked Dignitary in a Litter, A.D. 500-900, coastal Peru. The Cleveland Museum of Art,
Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund, 1997.1.
|Most gold objects from Tiwanaku were discovered and melted down by later peoples.
This rare gold ornament, probably worn in a headdress or garment, survived for
centuries in the safety of a tomb.
Ornament, 200 B.C.-A.D. 400, Cuzco, Peru. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Purchase, anonymous gift, 1984, 1984.14.
|The people of Tiwanaku decorated their surroundings and their bodies with brightly
colored textiles like this four-cornered hat. Many of these objects have maintained their
brilliant colors for over a thousand years.
Four-Cornered Hat, A.D. 400-1000, southern Peru. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
York. Bequest of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1993, 1994.35.158.
|Tiwanaku pottery is known for its precise decoration, but the painted shapes on this drinking cup
are less formal. It was made at a time when the empire’s power had waned.
Kero, A.D. 1000-1200, Moquegua, Peru. Museo Contisuyo, Moquegua.
|A beautifully illustrated catalog is
available in the Museum Shop for $40
($36 for members).
For more information, call
|Rand African Art