Photograph by Kenneth Garrett
The Wari were known for their pottery and extensive network of roads, but it was their fine textiles that set them apart from other pre-Columbian cultures and were often copied by the peoples they conquered. This woven band of fabric from Perus south coast shows strong Wari influence, particularly the figure of the staff god wearing two decapitated heads hanging from his elbows and one around his neck. Despite the frigid climate in parts of the empire, textile expert William Conklin believes the purpose of Wari garments was to display iconography, not just to keep people warm. They were wrapping themselves in flags, Conklin says.