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MATERIAL ENCOUNTERS: KNOTTING CULTURES IN EARLY MODERN PERU AND SPAIN

  • STEFAN HANß (a1)
Abstract

This article discusses the early modern nexus between feather-work and textiles with a focus on Spanish Peru. Whilst Peruvian feather-work has been defined as pre-Columbian, this article presents new textual, visual, and material evidence that shows its significance in the material culture of colonial Peru, which serves to initiate a broader debate on the dynamics of cultural encounters in the Ibero-American world. I chart the development of craft cultures beyond the moment of the Spanish conquest of the Americas by discussing Peruvian practices of feather manufacturing in relation to the production and usage of textiles in early modern Spain. This approach, I argue, will enable a reconsideration of the dynamics of the Spanish Empire, whose centres and peripheries were linked through circulating objects that constituted a shared material world. In the particular case of feather-work, this was a world that jointly valued the aesthetics of knots and the intricacy of knotting.

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University of Manchester, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, Samuel Alexander Building, Room S2.21, Oxford Road, Manchester m13 9plstefan.hanss@manchester.ac.uk
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Research for this article was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Materialized identities: objects, affects and effects in early modern culture, 1450–1750). A first draft of this article was presented at the University of Cambridge, where I received stimulating responses from Ulinka Rublack (Cambridge), Alessandra Russo (Columbia University), José Ramón Marcaida Lopez (St Andrew's), and Alexander Marr (Cambridge). I wish to thank all of them. I also presented parts of this article during a masterclass on early modern textiles, co-organized with Beatriz Marín-Aguilera (Cambridge), an expert in Chilean textiles, at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Cambridge. I owe special thanks to Gabriela Ramos (Cambridge), who kindly shared her transcriptions of Peruvian inventories with me. With Raphaële Garrod (Oxford), Michael Peter (Abegg Foundation), Monique Pullan (British Museum), and Helen Wolf (British Museum), I discussed humanist debates on knots, Renaissance weaving techniques, and Peruvian textiles. I am grateful for numerous thrilling conversations with all these researchers, and I wish to thank the British Museum (Helen Wolf), the Museo de América (Beatriz Robledo), and the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (Félix García Díez) for granting me access to their outstanding collections.

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1 Roth, H., Der Anfang der Museumslehre in Deutschland: Das Traktat ‘Inscriptiones vel Tituli Theatri Amplissimi’ von Samuel Quiccheberg. Lateinisch-Deutsch (Berlin, 2000), p. 248; Meadow, M. A. and Robertson, B., The first treatise on museums: Samuel Quiccheberg's Inscriptiones, 1565 (Los Angeles, CA, 2013).

2 Cabello, P., ‘Los inventarios de objetos Incas pertenecientes a Carlos V: studio de la colección, traducción y trascripción de los documentos’, Anales del Museo de America, 2 (1994), pp. 3361.

3 King, H., Peruvian featherworks: art of the Precolumbian era (New York, NY, and New Haven, CT, 2012).

4 Russo, A., The untranslatable image: a mestizo history of the arts in New Spain, 1500–1600 (Austin, TX, 2014); Russo, A., ‘An artistic humanity: new positions on art and freedom in the context of Iberian expansion, 1500–1600’, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, 65/6 (2014/15), pp. 352–63; Russo, A., Wolf, G. and Fane, D., Images take flight: feather art in Mexico and Europe, 1400–1700 (Munich, 2015).

5 Trouillot, M.-R., Silencing the past: power and the production of history (Boston, MA, 1995), p. 29.

6 Wills, J. E., ‘The first global dialogues: inter-cultural relations, 1400–1800’, in Bentley, J. H., Subrahmanyam, S., and Wiesner-Hanks, M. E., eds., The Cambridge world history (7 vols., Cambridge, 2015), vi/ii, pp. 2949.

7 Peck, A., ed., Interwoven globe: the worldwide textile trade, 1500–1800 (London, 2013); Lemire, B., Global trade and the transformation of consumer cultures: the material world remade, c. 1500–1820 (Cambridge, 2018); Riello, G., ‘Textile spheres: silk in a global and comparative context’, in Schäfer, D., Riello, G., and Molà, L., eds., Threads of global desire: silk in the pre-modern world (Woodbridge, 2018), pp. 323–42.

8 Thomas, N., Entangled objects: exchange, material culture, and colonialism in the Pacific (Cambridge, MA, and London, 1991); Thomas, N., Islanders: the Pacific in the age of empire (New Haven, CT, and London, 2010), p. 16.

9 Ferrer-Joly, F., ed., Plumes: visions de l'Amérique précolombienne (Paris and Auch, 2016); Pearlstein, E., ed., Conservation of featherwork from Central and South America (London, 2017), p. 1.

10 Phipps, E., Hecht, J. and Martín, C. Esteras, The colonial Andes: tapestries and silverwork, 1530–1830 (New York, NY, 2004); Fischer, E., Urdiendo el tejido social: sociedad y producción textil en los Andes bolivianos (Vienna, 2008); Ramos, G., ‘Los tejidos y la sociedad colonial andina’, Colonial Latin American Review, 19 (2010), pp. 115–49, here p. 115.

11 Russo, Untranslatable image.

12 Martyr, P., De orbe novo decades I–VIII, ed. Mazzacane, R. and Magoncalda, E. (2 vols., Genova, 2005), iv 9, 1215: ‘De cristis et conis et flabellis plumeis, quid referre queam non sentio. Si quid unquam honoris humana ingenia in huiuscemodi artibus sunt adepta, principatum iure merito ista consequentur…Mille fuguras et facies mille prospexi, quae scribere nequeo. Quid oculos hominum sua pulchritudine aeque possit allicere, meo iudicio, vidi nunquam.’

13 Dürer, A., Schriftlicher Nachlass, ed. Rupprich, H. (3 vols., Berlin, 1956), i, p. 155: ‘Und ich hab aber all mein lebtag nichts gesehen, das mein hercz also erfreuet hat als diese ding.’

14 Pizarro, P., ‘Relación del descubrimiento y conquista de los reinos del Perú…Año 1571’, in Navarrete, M. Fernandez, Salvá, M., and de Baranda, P. Sainz, eds., Colección de documentos inéditos para la historia de España, v (Madrid, 1844), p. 272: ‘No podré decir los depósitos vide de ropas y de todos géneros de ropas y vestidos que en este reino se hacian y usaban, que faltaba tiempo para vello y entendimiento para comprender tanta cosa’; Pizarro, Pedro, Relation of the discovery and conquest of the kingdoms of Peru, ed. Means, P. A. (2 vols., New York, NY, 1921), i, p. 267.

15 S. Hanß, ‘New World feathers and the matter of early modern ingenuity: digital microscopes, period hands, and period eyes’, in A. Marr, R. Oosterhoff, and J. Ramón Marcaida, eds., Ingenuity in the making: matter and technique in early modern art and science (Pittsburgh, PA, forthcoming, 2019).

16 Baxandall, M., The limewood sculptors of Renaissance Germany (6th edn, New Haven, CT, and London, 2004; orig. edn 1980), p. 143; Rublack, U., ‘Renaissance dress, cultures of making, and the period eye’, West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, 23 (2016), pp. 634.

17 Hanß, ‘New World feathers and the matter of early modern ingenuity’; O'Malley, M. and Welch, E. S., The material renaissance (Manchester, 2007); Rublack, U., ‘Matter in the material renaissance’, Past and Present, 219 (2013), pp. 4185.

18 Rosenbaum, D. A., Knowing hands: the cognitive psychology of manual control (Cambridge, 2017). My argument on ‘period hands’ builds on Baxandall's notion of the ‘period eye’. Baxandall, Limewood sculptors, p. 143.

19 Smith, P. H. and Beentjes, T., ‘Nature and art, making and knowing: reconstructing sixteenth-century life-casting techniques’, Renaissance Quarterly, 63 (2010), pp. 128–79; Rublack, ‘Matter in the material renaissance’.

20 Dürer, Schriftlicher Nachlass, i, p. 155.

21 Reina, R. E. and Kensinger, K. M., eds., The gift of birds: featherwork of native South American peoples (Philadelphia, PA, 1991); King, Peruvian featherworks, p. 3.

22 C. Fraresso, ‘Textiles et plumes divines du Pérou ancien’, in Ferrer-Joly, ed., Plumes, pp. 22–41.

23 Chimú pottery in avian shape, manufactured between 1000 and 1470 and excavated in Trujillo, is preserved in the holdings of the Museo de América (MA), Madrid: 10175 (20 × 10.1 cm); 10179 (20.5 × 18.3 cm); 10181 (20 × 12 cm, excavated at the Huaca de Tantalluc, Trujillo); 10184 (21 × 11 cm). Both later mentioned artefacts are now on display in the Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich.

24 S. Uceda and H. King, ‘Chimú feathered offerings from Huaca de la Luna’, in King, Peruvian featherworks, pp. 69–78 and on-site observations in Trujillo.

25 Herring, A., Art and vision in the Inca Empire: Andeans and Europeans at Cajamarca (Cambridge, 2015), p. 102.

26 J. Reinhard, ‘Sacred featherwork of the Inca’, in King, Peruvian featherworks, pp. 79–88.

27 A. Rae, Introduction to feather conservation: a one-day workshop, 26–27 May 2016, University of Cambridge Museums & Botanic Garden, handout, 2016, p. 14.

28 Herring, Art and vision, pp. 100–1.

29 Ibid., p. 148; Pillsbury, J., Potts, T., and Richter, K. N., eds., Golden kingdoms: luxury arts in the ancient Americas (Los Angeles, CA, 2017).

30 Pizarro, ‘Relación del descubrimiento y conquista de los reinos del Perú’, p. 265: ‘todo guarnecido de mantas de pluma muy pintadas y muy delicadas’.

31 Herring, Art and vision, p. 6.

32 British Museum (BM), London, Am1997,Q.510, Chimú or Inca feather-work tabard, 60 × 63 cm, c. fifteenth/sixteenth century.

33 C. Giuntini, ‘Techniques and conservation of Peruvian feather mosaics’, in King, Peruvian featherworks, pp. 89–99, here p. 96.

34 Buono, A., ‘Crafts of color: Tupi tapirage in early colonial Brazil’, in Feeser, A., Goggin, M. D., and Tobin, B. F., eds., The materiality of color: the production, circulation, and application of dyes and pigments, 1400–1800 (Farnham, 2012), pp. 235–46, here pp. 235–6.

35 BM, Am1922,1025.19, Chimú loin-cloth with Muscovy duck feathers, c. 900–1430; Herring, Art and vision, pp. 79–116.

36 Martyr, De orbe novo decades, iv 9, 12–17: ‘Aurum gemmasque non admiror quidam, qua industria quove studio superet opus materiam stupeo.’

37 Pizarro, ‘Relación del descubrimiento y conquista de los reinos del Perú’, p. 272; Pizarro, Relation of the discovery and conquest of the kingdoms of Peru, i, pp. 265–6.

38 Soriano, W. Espinoza, ‘Migraciones internas en el reino Colla: tejedores, plumereros y alfareros del estado imperial Inca’, Chungara: Revista de Antropología Chilena, 19 (1987), pp. 243–89. The oars are on display in the Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich.

39 King, Peruvian featherworks, p. 43.

40 Ibid., p. 13; Cobo, B., Inca religion and customs (1653), trans. Hamilton, R. (Austin, TX, 1990), pp. 223–6; de Betanzos, J., Narratives of the Incas (1557), trans. Hamilton, R. (Austin, TX, 1996), p. 105.

41 de la Vega, G., First part of the royal commentaries of the Yncas, ed. Markham, C. R. (2 vols., London, 1871), ii, pp. 179–80, 205; de la Vega, G., Royal commentaries of the Incas and general history of Peru abridged, ed. Spalding, Karen (Indianapolis, IN, and Cambridge, 2006), pp. 33, 95; Ferrer-Joly, ed., Plumes, p. 34. Cf. Zuidema, R. Tom, ‘Guaman Poma and the art of empire: toward an iconography of Inca royal dress’, in Andrien, K. J. and Adorno, R., eds., Transatlantic encounters: Europeans and Andeans in the sixteenth century (Berkeley, CA, 1991), pp. 151202; Kilroy-Ewbank, Lauren G., ‘Fashioning a prince for all the world to see: Guaman Poma's self-portraits in the Nueva Corónica’, The Americas, 75 (2018), pp. 4794.

42 De la Vega, First part of the royal commentaries, ii, p. 179.

43 Archivo Departamental del Cuzco (ADC), Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 27, fo. 1099 (26 Aug. 1590): ‘Declaro que tengo nueve plumas grandes de diferentes colores’; ‘Yten mando a don Alonso Quiguar Topa mi ligitimo hermano un bestido de manta y camiseta la manta es de ceda de la China encarnada y la camiseta de cumbe blanco del tiempo antiguo y un llaoto que se dize collchollaoto y una borla de señores llamado mascapaicha y dos duhos el uno de los Andes que llaman Rua y el otro de Chachacoma y otras plumas de naturales que se dize Uayoctica que son tres y mas dos basos pintados de diferentes colores que llaman amaro.’ I wish to thank Gabriela Ramos (Cambridge) for her generous support and for kindly sharing her fascinating research findings on and transcriptions of colonial inventories with me.

44 ADC, Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 25, fo. 693 (14 June 1588): ‘Una cabellera e una uracaua de plumerias y dos gualcangas de la tierra e una aranua de los guancas e un collar de guaquiri e una trompeta de la tierra que llaman guaillaquipa e unas plumas que llaman supatica e una patena de plata que los yndios llaman purapura e un toldo de algodon algo nuevo y un arado de la tierra.’

45 ADC, Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 4, fo. 666 (14 Mar. 1586): ‘Yten declaro que tengo quatro plumas grandes de colores mando a Mateo mi nieto las dos dellas y las otras dos para Francisco mi nieto porque esta es mi voluntad.’

46 ADC, Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 2, fos. 1087–8 (5 Mar. 1562): ‘Yten declaro que tengo en mi poder unas plumas de Martin Paca yndio, que me dejo su padre al tienpo que falleçio para que se lo diese al dicho Martin, mando que se lo den, e no le devo ni tengo en mi poder otra cosa alguna.’

47 ADC, Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 260, fo. 1719 (10 Oct. 1627): ‘Yten declaro que debo quatro plumas de regosijo a un mestiso en abitos de yndio llamado Joan Pacheco mando que se lo paguen cobrado lo que me deven de mis vienes.’

48 Brosseder, C., The power of Huacas: change and resistance in the Andean world of colonial Peru (Austin, TX, 2014), p. 344, referring to cases from Ambar, Huamantanga, Yaután, and Acas between 1646 and 1667.

49 Salomon, F. and Urioste, G. L., eds., The Huarochirí manuscript: a testament of ancient and colonial Andean religion (Austin, TX, 1991), p. 122.

50 Ibid., pp. 122–3.

51 Ibid., p. 74.

52 On other contexts of communities of spiritual and physical care in the colonial Americas, see Loren, D. DiPaolo, ‘Dress, faith, and medicine: caring for the body in eighteenth-century Spanish Texas’, in Paulo, P., Funari, A., and Senatore, M. Ximena, eds., Archaeology of culture: contact and colonialism in Spanish and Portuguese America (Heidelberg, 2015), pp. 143–54.

53 Salomon and Urioste, Huarochirí manuscript, p. 44.

54 Ibid., pp. 45, 47.

55 Ibid., pp. 93, 133.

56 Ibid., p. 121.

57 Ibid., p. 89.

58 Ibid., pp. 49, 59, 128.

59 J. McHugh, ‘For new gods, kings, and markets: luxury in the age of global encounters’, in Pillsbury, Potts, and Richter, eds., Golden kingdoms, pp. 123–9, here p. 124.

60 Arnold, Denise Y., ‘Making textiles into persons: gestural sequences and relationality in communities of weaving practice of the South Central Andes’, Journal of Material Culture, 23 (2018), pp. 239–60, here p. 240.

61 Salomon and Urioste, Huarochirí manuscript, pp. 11, 58, 105.

62 ADC, Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 260, fo. 1719 (10 Oct. 1627): ‘quatro plumas de regosijo’.

63 ADC, Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 172, fo. 1030 (5 July 1647): ‘Mando se den a Pedro Gonsales que a de ser mi albacea quatro pesos y dos plumas de regocijo.’

64 ADC, Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 17, fo. 61 (8 May 1568): ‘Dos plumas de Parinacocha.’

65 F. Guaman Poma de Ayala, Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (1615), Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen, GKS 2232 4°, 204 [206], 206 [208], 516 [520], 637 [651]. The source is accessible online: www.kb.dk/permalink/2006/poma/info/es/frontpage.htm.

66 Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), Archivo Notarial y Judicial, Protocolo, 34, fo. 383 (24 Aug. 1579): ‘Un cordon de sombrero de Mexico de plata. Cinco plumajes. Diez llautos.’

67 ADC, Archivo Notarial, Protocolo, 98, fo. 266 (21 May 1657): ‘un penacho de plumas de Castilla blancas y verdes que costó mucha plata nuevo que me pidió prestado’.

68 S. Hanß, ‘Making feather-work in early modern Europe’, in S. Burghartz, L. Burkart, C. Göttler, and U. Rublack, eds., Materialized identities: objects, affects and effects in early modern culture, 1450–1750 (forthcoming); S. Hanß, ‘Material cross-referentiality: feathers and hats in the early modern Spanish world’ (work in progress).

69 Guaman Poma de Ayala, Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (1615), 394 [396], 449 [451], 460 [462], 488 [492].

70 Phipps, Hecht, and Esteras Martín, Colonial Andes, p. 267.

71 MA, 12344, feather-work tapestry, 238 × 160 cm, viceroyalty of Peru, c. 1650–1750; MA, 12345, feather-work tapestry, 200 × 149 cm, viceroyalty of Peru, c. 1700–1800; Ramos, M. Amezaga, ‘Restauración de plumería sobre tejido en el Museo de América: aplicación de nuevas tecnologías’, Anales del Museo de América, 14 (2006), pp. 381406.

72 Salomon and Urioste, Huarochirí manuscript, p. 55.

73 Elena Phipps, ‘The Iberian globe: textile traditions and trade in Latin America’, in Peck, ed., Interwoven globe, pp. 28–45, here pp. 32, 37–8.

74 Ibid.; Arguedas, J. M. and Duviols, P., eds., Dioses y hombres de Huarochirí: Narración quechua recogida por Francisco de Avila [¿1598?] (Lima, 1966), p. 209.

75 MA, 12344, feather-work tapestry, 238 × 160 cm, viceroyalty of Peru, c. 1650–1750; MA, 12345, feather-work tapestry, 200 × 149 cm, viceroyalty of Peru, c. 1700–1800.

76 BM, Am2006,Q.12, feather-work textile, Peru, 81 × 54 cm, c. 1530–1660.

77 I analysed the artefact with the digital microscope. Cf. Dransart, P. and Wolf, H., Textiles from the Andes (London, 2011), pp. 70–1; Herring, Art and vision, p. 42.

78 F. Ferrer-Joly and G. Priet, ‘Les plumes de la résistance’, in Ferrer-Joly, ed., Plumes, pp. 94–105, here p. 102.

79 Ingold, T., Lines: a brief history (London, 2016), pp. 63, 67.

80 Phillips, E., The new world of English words: or, a general dictionary… (London, 1658).

81 Urton, G., ‘Khipu Archives: duplicate accounts and identity labels in the Inka knotted string records’, Latin American Antiquity, 16 (2005), pp. 147–67; Hyland, S., ‘How Khipus indicated labour contributions in an Andean village: an explanation of colour banding, seriation and ethnocategories’, Journal of Material Culture, 21 (2016), pp. 490509; Hyland, S., ‘Writing with twisted cords: the inscriptive capacity of Andean Khipus’, Current Anthropology, 58 (2017), pp. 412–19.

82 Given-Wilson, C., ‘Bureaucracy without alphabetic writing: governing the Inca Empire, c. 1438–1532’, in Crooks, P. and Parsons, T. H., eds., Empires and bureaucracy in world history from late antiquity to the twentieth century (Cambridge, 2016), pp. 81101, here p. 90; Urton, G., ‘The state of strings: Khipu administration in the Inka Empire’, in Shimada, I., ed., The Inka Empire: a multidisciplinary approach (Austin, TX, 2015), pp. 149–64.

83 This and all following quotes are taken from Cobo, Inca religion and customs, pp. 223–6. For a further discussion of the production of Andean textiles, see Arnold, D. Y., ed., Textiles, technical practices, and power in the Andes (London, 2014).

84 Martyr, De orbe novo decades, i 1, 28; i 2, 11; iii 5, 33.

85 Pizarro, ‘Relación del descubrimiento y conquista de los reinos del Perú’, p. 272; Pizarro, Relation of the discovery and conquest of the kingdoms of Peru, i, pp. 266–7.

86 For a general introduction, see Turner, J. C. and van de Griend, P., eds., History and science of knots (Singapore, 1996).

87 Cobo, Inca religion and customs, p. 225.

88 Fernández de Oviedo, G., Natural history of the West Indies, ed. Stoudemire, S. A. (Chapel Hill, NC, 1959), pp. 65–6.

89 Pizarro, ‘Relación del descubrimiento y conquista de los reinos del Perú’, p. 272; Phipps, Elena, ‘“Tornesol”: a colonial synthesis of European and Andean textile traditions’, in Textile Society of America, ed., Approaching textiles, varying viewpoints: proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2000 (Earleville, MD, 2001), pp. 221–30, here p. 222.

90 Ibid., p. 221.

91 Ibid., p. 222.

92 McCafferty, S. D. and McCafferty, G. G., ‘Textile production in postclassic Cholula, Mexico’, Ancient Mesoamerica, 11 (2000), pp. 46–7; Brewington, R. L., ‘Spindle whorls and fiber production in postclassic Chalco’, in Hodge, M. G., ed., Place of jade: society and economy in ancient Chalco (México, 2008), pp. 269302.

93 de Léry, J., History of a voyage to the land of Brazil, otherwise called America…, trans. Whatley, J. (Berkeley, CA, 1990), p. 60. On feather-workers active in early modern France, see Hanß, ‘Making feather-work in early modern Europe’.

94 Gracián, B., AGVDEZA Y ARTE DE INGENIO… (Huesca, 1648).

95 de Alcega, J., Libro de geometria, pratica y traça… (Madrid, 1589).

96 Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (MNAD), Madrid, CE02048, encaje de bolillos, 224 × 74 cm, c. 1600–50; MNAD, CE21387, encaje de bolillos, 219 × 63 cm, c. 1600–1700.

97 García, C. Sarasúa, ‘La industria del encaje en el Campo Calatrava’, Arenal, 2 (1995), pp. 151–74; Stanfield-Mazzi, M., ‘Weaving and tailoring the Andean church: textile ornaments and their makers in colonial Peru’, The Americas, 72 (2015), pp. 77102.

98 Phipps, ‘Iberian globe’, pp. 37–8.

99 Espinach, G. Navarro, Los origines de la sedería valenciana siglos XV–XVI (Valencia, 1999); Espinach, G. Navarro, ‘La tecnología sedera en Valencia a la luz de unas ordenanzas inéditas del siglo XV’, Anuario de Estudios Medievales, 41 (2011), pp. 577–91; Molà, L., The silk industry of Renaissance Venice (Baltimore, MD, 2000), pp. 20–2, 42; Landini, R. Orsi, I velluti nella collezione della Galleria del Costume di Firenze (Florence and Riggisberg, 2017), pp. 3769.

100 P. Smith, C. Cassidy, and P. Greenfield, Weaving: cognition, technology, culture. 3rd Annual Embodied Cognition Workshop, 5–8 April 2017 (New York, NY, 2017), http://scienceandsociety.columbia.edu/files/2017/04/Weaving-Program-April-5-8-WEB-VERSION-No-Cover.pdf.

101 Eichberger, D., Leben mit Kunst: Wirken durch Kunst. Sammelwesen und Hofkunst unter Margarete von Österreich, Regentin der Niederlande (Turnhout, 2002), p. 183.

102 Symcox, G. et al. , eds., Italian reports on America, 1493–1522: accounts by contemporary observers (Turnhout, 2002), pp. 33, 160–1: ‘pappagalli molti grandi e begli; Et le loro penne sono verde, rosse e nere e d'altri colori, e ànno la coda lunga come ànno e’ verdi. Misura'ne uno, e trovai che dal capo alla coda, cioè al fine, era 1 braccio e ¼, o circa, di lunghezza…Costoro si dice gli tengono per avere le penne, che ne fanno certi pennacchi e altri adornamenti molti begli.’

103 Hanß, ‘Making feather-work in early modern Europe’.

104 Archivo General de Palacio, Madrid, sección de expedientes personales, caja 813 Expediente 41. On feather-workers at the Spanish court, see Hanß, ‘Material cross-referentiality’.

105 S. Hanß, Court and material culture in early modern Germany: a sourcebook on the duke of Württemberg's payments to artisans, Stuttgart, 1592–1628 (Amsterdam, forthcoming).

106 The Art Institute of Chicago, 1927.1779a–b, The Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper with St Peter and St Paul, embroidered retable with predella, 254 × 213 cm, Spain, c. 1468.

107 Vasari, G., Artists of the Renaissance: an illustrated selection, trans. Bull, G. (Harmondsworth, 1982), p. 180.

108 Dürer, A., Writings, trans. M., W. Conway (London, 1958), pp. 137–8, 177, 181, 247, 249; Costello, E. E., ‘Knots made by human hands: copying, invention, and intellect in the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer’, Athanor, 23 (2005), pp. 2533; Marr, A., ‘Ingenuity in Nuremberg: Dürer and Stabius's instrument prints’, Art Bulletin, 100 (2018), pp. 4879.

109 Cardano, G., DE SVBTILITATE LIBRI XXI… (Paris, 1550); Scaliger, J. C., EXOTERICARVM EXERCITATIONVM LIBER QVINTVS DECIMVS… (Paris, 1557).

110 Hanß, ‘New World feathers and the matter of early modern ingenuity’.

111 Auslander, Leora, ‘Beyond words’, American Historical Review, 110 (2005), pp. 1015–45, here p. 1015.

Research for this article was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Materialized identities: objects, affects and effects in early modern culture, 1450–1750). A first draft of this article was presented at the University of Cambridge, where I received stimulating responses from Ulinka Rublack (Cambridge), Alessandra Russo (Columbia University), José Ramón Marcaida Lopez (St Andrew's), and Alexander Marr (Cambridge). I wish to thank all of them. I also presented parts of this article during a masterclass on early modern textiles, co-organized with Beatriz Marín-Aguilera (Cambridge), an expert in Chilean textiles, at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Cambridge. I owe special thanks to Gabriela Ramos (Cambridge), who kindly shared her transcriptions of Peruvian inventories with me. With Raphaële Garrod (Oxford), Michael Peter (Abegg Foundation), Monique Pullan (British Museum), and Helen Wolf (British Museum), I discussed humanist debates on knots, Renaissance weaving techniques, and Peruvian textiles. I am grateful for numerous thrilling conversations with all these researchers, and I wish to thank the British Museum (Helen Wolf), the Museo de América (Beatriz Robledo), and the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (Félix García Díez) for granting me access to their outstanding collections.

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