The Testimony of Hands

57.5.41, .42

57.5.41, .42, two ceremonial wands; wood, dyed thread
Prehistoric Peru
Watt Stewart collection
Photograph by B. Bernard

Most ornaments are designed to attach to the body or to clothing, but some purely ornamental items are designed to be held. In our own culture examples include a bishop's crosier and an officer's swagger stick. These two Peruvian examples show hand-held items that similarly transmitted information about the holder's status, or possibly served as imagined sources of supernational power.

Both wands feature zigzag designs. In one case the design is carved and in the other it is produced with red, white, blue, and brown thread. The longer ceremonial wand is about 60 centimeters (2 feet) long.



Details of 57.5.41 (upper) and 57.5.42 (lower)
Photographs by B. Bernard

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