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The Menil Collection | In Dialogue: On the Chimú Prisoner Textile
September 1, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
In conjunction with the exhibition Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes, on view through November 14, 2021, join art historians Susan E. Bergh and Andrew Hamilton, and conservator Kari Dodson in an online conversation moderated by curator Paul R. Davis about the history and interpretation of a 13th century painted textile from the Chimú, an ancient empire centered at the city of Chan Chan, near present-day Trujillo, Peru.
Commonly referred to as the “Prisoner Textile,” it pictures hundreds of bound captives, some apparently in procession. The original textile was monumental, estimated to measure at least 75 ft. (22.9 m) in length. Shortly after being discovered in 1951, it was cut into multiple fragments for sale. Ten of these fragments are now in museum collections in Europe and the U.S. Supported by a 2020-21 Bank of America Art Conservation Project Grant, the ongoing study of the uncut, two-panel fragment in the Menil’s permanent collection adds new information about the materials and methods of application used in its manufacture and will inform the preservation and possible digital reconstruction of the extant and fragments.