Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

How to Use

To navigate this online catalogue, at the top there is a general banner with five different details (blue and white llamas for the ancient Andes, red rearing horses for Modern Bolivia, a circular spindle whorl for the introduction (includes the overview essay on tradition and change entitled “Passing the Flame...” as well as information on spinning tools and looms and the credits), a detail of an eagle-headed spirit for Modern Panamá (meaning the Guna people) and a detail featuring purple geometric patterns for Modern Guatemala (meaning the Maya). This general banner remains at the top throughout the site. On the home page the sub-banner for the Introduction appears below, with five different spindle whorls, two from the ancient Andes and three from ancient Mesoamerica.

Below the main banner images are the underlined titles of the five areas; clicking the title yields a drop-down menu. First on these menus is a section “Introducing ___” (Ancient Peru, Modern Bolivia, etc.). This is a compilation of the introductory and secondary wall texts. Below this in the drop-down menu are the essay(s) associated with that section: one for the Introduction, three for ancient Perú, one each for Modern Bolivia and Panamá, and three for Modern Guatemala. When you click the essay title you jump to that essay. All of the eight essays’ titles will always appear to the right of any essay’s text, and clicking on another essay will jump you to that one. In addition, at the bottom of a given essay is a link to the “next” essay in order, should you wish to follow the structure of the exhibition in your reading.

At the bottom of the introductory Modern Bolivia page are two videos filmed by Shelley Burian interviewing an Andean dyer and an Andean weaver. The second video, “Interview with Potolo Weaver Ramona Contreras,” features the weaver describing her textile in the exhibition.

Also at the end of each essay is a link to Further Reading, which serves as a single bibliography of the writings of other authors referenced in all the essays. In the essays references to other authors’ work are short, for instance “(Rodas et al. 1940, 127),” with the last number being the page). An interested reader can look under Further Reading for the full citation, in its alphabetical position according to the name of the author and potentially the date (if an author has written multiple works).

Under the essay titles in the dropdown menus is a final section called Browse the Works of ____. This gives you a list of each piece in that section of the exhibition, with all its information such as time, date, culture, name of the photographer, and so on. That piece’s label appears and so do all available photographs, which are zoom-able—just keep clicking on it. Technical notes are ones that concern conservation, from stabilizing to mounting, cleaning to testing dyes or fibers. An overview of the conservation project as a whole is found under the Introduction dropdown menu at the bottom.

Eight pieces from various cultures were included in the introductory area of the exhibition, one each from ancient Perú, modern Panamá, and modern Guatemala that are seen upon entry, then five that concern the topic of textiles as writing and with writing. These are found in the Browse sections of the different areas as well as via a link on the Introduction page toward the bottom (along with another rollover link to the Conservation Project overview and to installation photographs of all the galleries as they appear[ed] during the run of the show).

Throughout written material, a symbol of a little speaker signals that the following foreign word (in Spanish, Mayan, Guna, or Quechua) has been pronounced by Dr. Stone. A pronunciation is signaled by an underlined word and the sound files are attached to each item record.