Published: July 8, 2015
Tunic with black and white checkerboard and stepped yoke, Perú, Inca (Inka) culture, 1400–1540, camelid fiber, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc in honor of Carol Robbins.
DALLAS, TEXAS — The Dallas Museum of Art presents “Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las Conquistas de los Andes,” an exhibition of more than 120 objects that explores the dynamic nature of state expansion and imperial conquest through Andean visual arts.
On view through November 15, the exhibition is the first organized by the museum dedicated exclusively to Andean art, and the first special exhibition organized and curated by Dr Kimberly L. Jones, the Ellen and Harry S. Parker III assistant curator of the Arts of the Americas. As the title suggests, the exhibition is presented in both English and Spanish.
Urpu with geometric designs, Perú, Inca (Inka) culture, 1400–1530, ceramic and slip paints, Dallas Museum of Art, the Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Mr and Mrs Jake L. Hamon, the Eugene McDermott Family, Mr and Mrs Algur H. Meadows and the Meadows Foundation, Incorporated, and Mr and Mrs John D. Murchison.
Featuring important works from the museum’s Arts of the Americas collection, some displayed for the first time, and several significant loans, “Inca” reflects the traditional media of Andean visual arts, from ceramic and wood vessels to prestigious gold, silver, feather and textile accoutrements.
The exhibition focuses on the complex societies of western South America, those cultures that developed across the Andean highlands and desert coast for thousands of years prior to the Spanish Conquest. It offers visitors the opportunity to learn about a thousand years of artistic achievements, and to view rarely seen work from the museum’s collection, said Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott director of the Dallas Museum of Art.
“This exhibition has provided the fabulous opportunity to share a deep admiration of Andean cultures with the greater public, for a mutual appreciation of this region so rich in cultural heritage. It has also presented a wonderful opportunity to provide further conservation, material study and research to the impressive collection of Andean arts long stewarded by the Dallas Museum of Art,” said Jones.
Knife (tumi) with llama head finial, Perú, Inca (Inka) culture, 1400–1530, tin bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Nora and John Wise Collection, gift of Nora Wise.
“The Inca Conquest” opens the exhibition with the museum’s Inca key checkerboard tunic, arguably the finest example of this standardized Inca tunic type outside of Peru. Beginning with this vibrant male garment, the exhibition features five of the museum’s most impressive tunics in central locations within the successive gallery spaces, permitting visitors to walk around the finely woven garments as they would appear worn on high-ranking males of the respective societies. Focused on conquest, the gallery also engages Andean weaponry and military status through metal knives (or tumi), mace heads and braided slings.
“Forging Connections” presents key aspects of Andean practice and Inca ritualism that served to connect the diverse and increasingly widespread imperial territories. The gallery highlights the museum’s rich assortment of decorated Andean woven and net bags often used for carrying coca leaves, as well as small intricate objects associated with coca and ritual practices. The role of miniatures in Andean practice is exemplified through the display of precious Inca miniature silver and gold figurines that reflect the ideal male and female Inca elites.
“Foundations” explores the pre-Inca polities, such as the Huari and Tiahuanaco, which provided substantial practical and ideological bases for later Inca imperial expansions. The room revolves around the Huari male tunic from the collection, while it explores the vibrant range of other Huari and Tiahuanaco provincial styles and objects, many on exhibition for the first time, including mantles and fine tapestry bags with ornate imagery. The gallery theme is enriched substantively by a loan from the Kimbell Art Museum of a precious Huari standing figurine.
The Dallas Museum of Art is at 1717 North Harwood Street. For information, www.dallasmuseumofart.org or 214-922-1200.
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