U.S. Response:
Back to HOME | Overview | Implementation

Federal Register Notice, June 11, 1997; 62(112):31713-31721

Archaeological and Ethnological Material From Peru 

I. Pre-Columbian Textiles  
II. Pre-Columbian Metals   
III. Pre-Columbian Ceramics  
IV. Pre-Columbian Lithics 
V. Pre-Columbian Perishable Remains 
VI. Pre-Columbian Human Remains  
VII. Ethnological Objects


Customs Service  
19 CFR Part 12  
[T.D. 97-50]  
RIN 1515-AC17  

Archaeological and Ethnological Material From Peru  

AGENCY: U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury.  
ACTION: Final rule.  

Previous Section  

I. Pre-Columbian Textiles  

Textiles representing these principal cultures and main classes of objects:  

A. Chimu  

    Pillow--Piece of cloth sewn into a bag shape and stuffed with cotton of vegetal fibers. Generally the cloth is made in tapestry technique. 60 cm. x 40 cm.  
    Painted Cloth--Flat cloth of cotton on which designs are painted. Range between 20 cm. and 6.1 m.  
    Headdress--Headdresses are usually made of feathers, especially white, green, and dark brown, which are attached to cloth and fitted to a cane or basketry frame. Feathers on the upper part are arranged to stand upright.  
    Feather Cloth--Cloth decorated with bird feathers, especially panels and tunics. They vary in shape and size; generally they depict geometric motif and volutes. Vary from 20 cm.--3 m. in length, and may be up to 1.5 m. in width.  
    Panels--Chimu panels may be of two types: tapestry weave or plain- weave cotton. Isolated anthropomorphic designs predominate and may be associated with zoomorphic motifs. Vary from 20 cm. x 20 cm. to 2.0 m. x 1.8 m.  
    Belts and Sashes--Generally made in tapestry technique, and predominantly of red, white, ocher, and black. As with other Chimu textiles, they generally depict human figures with rayed headdresses. Up to 2.20 m. in length.
B. Chancay  
    Loom--Looms are commonly found in Chancay culture, sometimes with pieces of the textile still on the loom. Often these pieces of cloth show varied techniques and are referred to as "samples." 50 cm. x 20 cm.  
    Loincloth--Triangular panels of cloth with tapestry woven borders.  
    Dolls--Three dimensional human figures stuffed with vegetal fiber to which hair and other decorations are added. Sometimes they depict lone females; in other cases they are arranged in groups. Most important, the eyes are woven in tapestry technique; in fakes, they have embroidered features. Usually 20 cm. tall and 8 cm. wide.  
    False Head--In Chancay culture, false heads are made on a cotton of vegetal fiber cushion covered with plain-weave cloth, decorated with shells, beads, metal, wood, or painting to depict facial features. They sometimes have real hair. Usually 30 cm. x 35 cm.  
    Unku/Tunic--Varied sizes and styles. Some are in plain weave, others in gauze, still others are in tapestry technique or brocade. They are recognized by their iconography, which includes geometric motifs, birds, fish, plants, and human figures. Miniatures are tiny; regular size examples are about 50 cm. x 50 cm.  
    Belt--Chancay belts are multicolored, with geometric motifs rendered in tapestry technique. Sometimes the ends are finished in faux-velour technique. 2 m. x 5 cm.  
    Panels--Chancay panels may be made in tapestry technique or may be painted on plain weave cloth. In these latter cases, the panels may depict fish, parrots, monkeys, viszcachas, felines, foxes, and human figures. Vary in size from miniatures to 4 m. x 2 m.  
    Standards--Chancay standards are supported on a frame of straight reeds covered with cotton cloth which is painted in anthropomorphic designs in ochers and black. Sometimes they have a handle. 20 cm. x 20 cm.  
    Gauze--Pieces of cloth made in openwork gauze technique, with very fine cotton threads. May have embroidered designs in the same thread that depict birds or other flora and fauna. Usually 80 cm. x 80 cm.; some are smaller.
C. Nazca  
    Three-Dimensional Cloth--Cloth made in three dimensions, using needles. Of many and bright colors, knitted in long strips. Each figure is approx. 5 cm. long x 2 cm. wide.  
    Unku/Tunic--These include miniature and regular-sized tunics. They are generally of one color, mostly light brown. The neck edges, hem, and fringes have multicolored geometric designs. Fringes end in woven braids. Vary in size from miniatures up to approx. 1.5 m. x .8 m.  
    Bags--There are bags of many sizes, from miniatures to large ones, generally with a narrow opening and a wide pouch. Some are decorated with fringe. Their iconography resembles the unku (tunic), stylized designs in yellow, red, and dark and light blue.  
    Sash--Nazca sashes are made on special looms. Their ends are decorated with plied fringe.  
    Tie-Dye (Painted) Cloth--Most common are those made in the tie-dye technique, in which the textile is knotted and tied before it is dyed, so that when it is untied, there are negative images of diamonds, squared, and concentric dots. Most common are orange, red, blue, green, and yellow colors. Vary from approx. 20 cm. x 20 cm. to 2.0 m. x 1.8 m.  
    Patchwork Cloth--Variant of the Tie-Dye cloth, in which little panels are made and later sewn together so that the resulting textile includes rectangles of tie-dyed panels of different colors. The cloth may have a decorative fringe. Vary from 20 cm. x 20 cm. to 2.0 m. x 1.8 m.  
    Wara/Loincloth--Generally made of a flat piece of cloth with colorful borders depicting stylized geometric motifs. They terminate in fringe. 50 cm. x 30 cm.  
    Fans--The frame is of vegetal fiber provided with twisted cord into which feathers are inserted. Commonly two colors of feathers are attached in this way, such as orange and green, or yellow and blue. 30 cm. x 20 cm.
D. Huari  
    Panel--Characterized by a complex and abstract iconography. Made in tapestry technique with a range of colors, including browns, beiges, yellows, reds, oranges, and greens. Vary from 20 cm. x 20 cm. to 2.0 m. x 1.8 m.  
    Unku/tunic--Large with an abstract and geometric iconography. Commonly the designs repeat in vertical bands. Generally these tunics have a cotton warp and camelid fiber weft. Some are so finely woven that there are 100 threads per cm (2). Vary in size from miniatures up to 1.5 m. x 80 cm.  
    Caps--Most common are the so-called "four-corner hats" made in a faux-velour technique that results in a velvety texture. On the base cloth, small tufts of brightly-colored wool are inserted.  
    Vincha/headband or sashes--These garments are made in tapestry weave or faux-velour technique and depict geometric motifs.  
    Bags--Bags have an opening which is somewhat narrower than the body, with designs depicting felines, camelids, human faces, and faces with animal attributes.
E. Paracas  
    Esclavina/Small shoulder poncho--Paracas esclavinas are unique for their decoration with brightly colored images in Paracas style such as birds, flowers, animals, and human figures. Vary in size from miniatures up to 60 cm. x 30 cm.  
    Mantle--Paracas mantles can be divided into five types, based on their decoration. All are approximately 2.5 m. x 1.6 m.  
      a. Mantles with a plain field and woven borders;  
      b. Mantles with decorative (embroidered) borders and plain field;  
      c. Mantles with decorative (embroidered) borders and a decorative stripe in the center field;  
      d. Mantles with embroidered borders and center field embroidered in checkerboard-fashion;  
      e. Mantles with embroidered borders and alternating diagonals of embroidered figures in the center field. 
    Gauzes--Paracas gauzes are made of one color, such as lilac, yellow, red, or grey. They are generally rectangular and have a soft and delicate texture. Approx. 1 m. x 1 m.  
    Panels--Paracas panels are generally of cloth and may have been used for utilitarian purposes. They are generally undecorated. Vary from 20 cm. x 20 cm. to 2 m. x 1.8 m.  
    Skirts--Paracas skirts are of two types: some are plain, made of cotton with decoration reserved for the ends; there are others that are elaborately embroidered with colorful images rendered in wool. These often form sets with mantles and other garments. Skirts are rectangular and very wide, with two fringed ties. 3 m. long and 70 cm. wide.  
    Wara/Loincloth--Made of cotton, not as large as skirts, and may have embroidered edges.  
    Slings--Paracas slings are decorated in Cavernas style, made of vegetal fiber, and are of small size, generally 1.5 m. x 5 cm.  
    Furs--There are numerous examples of animal skins reported from Paracas contexts, including the skins of the fox, vizcacha, guinea pig. Most are poorly preserved. 
F. Moche  
    Bags--Moche bags are usually square, small, and have a short handle. They are made in tapestry technique with brightly-woven designs. Principal colors used are white, black, red, light blue, and ocher.  
    Panels--Recognizable by their iconography, these tapestry-technique panels may show people on balsa-reed rafts surrounded by a retinue. They are rendered in a geometric fashion, and are outlined in black and shown in profile. Scenes of marine life and fauna predominate. Vary from 20 cm. x 20 cm. to 2 m. x 1.8 m.  
    Ornamental canes--Small canes are "woven" together in a twill technique using colorful threads that depict anthropomorphic designs. Approx. 10 cm. x 10 cm. 
G. Lambayeque  
    Panels--Lambayeque panels are small, made in tapestry technique, of cotton and wool. Vary from 20 cm. x 20 cm. to 2 m. x 1.8 m. 
H. Inca  
    Sling--There are two types of Inca slings. Ceremonial ones are oversize and elaborately decorated with geometric motifs, with long fringes. The other type is smaller and utilitarian, almost always with decoration only on the pouch and far ends. The decoration is geometric and the slings have fringed ends.  
    Unku/tunic--Inca tunics are well-made and colorful, mostly in red, olive green, black, and yellow. Decorative elements may be arrayed checkerboard fashion and are found on the upper and lower part of the garment. Vary in size from miniatures up to approx. 1.5 m. x 80 cm.  
    Bags--Recognized by their bright colors, they have an opening that is narrower than the body and a wide pouch with long fringe and handle. Vary in size from miniatures up to 30 cm. x 20 cm.  
    Panels--Some are made in cotton using the double-cloth technique, based on light brown and beige. Lines of geometrically-rendered llamas predominate. Vary in size from 20 cm. x 20 cm. to 2 m. x 1.8 m.  
    Mantles--Inca mantles are of standard dimensions, sometime more than a meter long, generally rectangular. They are multi-colored and made of cotton warp and wool weft. Most common colors are dark red, olive green, white, and black. Generally 2.5 m. x 1.6 m.  
    Kipu/quipu--Inca quipus (knotted string mnemonic devices) are made of cotton and wool cords, sometimes with the two fibers plied together. Rarely is their original color preserved, though sometime one sees light blues and browns. Some are wrapped with colorful threads on the ends of the cords. 80 cm. x 50 cm. 
II. Pre-Columbian Metal Objects  

A. Idols  

Anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures, some of which are hollow and others which are solid. They may be of gold and silver, they may be gilded, or of copper, or bronze. Sizes vary from 2 cm.--20 cm. in height.  

B. Small Plaques  

Thin sheets of gold, silver, copper, or gilded copper, used to cover the body and made in pieces. They have repousse or punched designs on the edge and middle of the sheet. Average .6 cm in height.  

C. Axes  

Almost always T-shaped and solid. There are also axes in a traditional axehead shape. May be of bronze or copper.  

D. Mace Heads  

These come in a great variety of shapes, including star-shaped, flat, or of two or three levels. They may be made of copper or bronze. Most have a central hole through which a wooden handle was affixed.  

E. Musical Instruments  

    Trumpets: Wind instrument with a tubular body and flaring end, fastened at the joint. May be of copper or bronze.  
    Bells: Of varying shapes and materials (including gold, silver, copper, and silver-plated copper).  
    Conos: Instrument shaped from a sheet of hammered metal, with or without a clapper. Can be of copper or silver. Up to .5 m. in height.  
    Rattles: Musical instrument with a central hold to accommodate a handle. May be of copper or bronze. Vary from 6 cm.-25 cm. in height.  
    Jingle Bells: Spherical bells with an opening on the lower part and a handle on the upper part so they can be suspended from a sash or other garment. They contain a small stone or a little ball of metal. The handles may be decorated. Jingle bells may decorate another object, such as rhythm sticks, and may be of gold, silver, or bronze. Used in all pre-Columbian cultures of Peru.  
    Chalchachas: Instruments shaped like a bivalve with repousse decoration. Made of copper.  
    Quenas (flutes): Tubular instruments, generally of silver, with perforations to vary the tone. 
F. Knives  

Knives vary depending on their provenance. They can have little or no decoration and can be of different metals or made of two metals. The best known are the tumis from the Sican culture, which have a straight or trapezoidal handle and a half-moon blade. The solid handle may have carved or stamped designs. Generally made of gold, silver, or copper. In ceremonial examples, the blade and upper part may depict an anthropomorphic figure standing or seated, or simply a face or mask with an elaborate headdress, earspools, and inset semi-precious stones. Tumi handles can be triangular, rectangular, or trapezoidal, and blades can be ovaloid or shaped like a half-moon.  

G. Pins  

With a straight shaft and pointed end, pins can be flat or cylindrical in cross-section. Most are hammered, and some are hollow. They can be of gold, silver, copper, bronze, gold-plated silver or may be made of two metals. Some pins are zoomorphic; others have floral images, and still others depict fish. Some have a round head; others have a flat, circular head; still others have the shape of a half-moon. There are hollow-headed rattle pins; others have solid anthropomorphic images. Most are up to 50 cm. in length, with heads that are up to 10 cm. in diameter. The small pins are about 5 cm. in length.  

H. Vessels  

There are a variety of metal vessels; they may be made of gold, silver, gilded silver, gilded copper, silver-covered copper, and bronze. There are miniatures, as well as full-size vessels. Such vessels are known from all cultures. Forms include beakers, bowls, open plates, globular vessels, and stirrup-spout bottles. The exact form and surface decoration varies from culture to culture. Shapes include beakers, bowls, and plates. Average .5 m.-.3 m. in height.  

I. [Reserved]  

J. Masks  

May be made of gold, silver, gilded silver, copper, gilded copper, silver-covered copper, or may be made of two metals. They vary greatly in shape and design. The best known examples come from the following cultures: Moche, Sican, Chimu, Huari, Inca, Nazca, and Chincha. The northern coast examples often have insets of shell, precious or semi- precious stones, and may have plant resins to depict the eyes and teeth. Almost all examples that have not been cleaned have a surface coloring of red cinnabar. Examples from Sican measure up to 49 cm. in width by 29 cm. in height. Miniature examples can measure 7 cm. x 5 cm. Miniature masks are also used as decorations on other objects. Copper examples generally show heavy oxidation.  

K. Crowns  

Thin or thick sheets of metal made to encircle the head. They may be of silver, gold, copper, gilded silver, silver-covered copper, or may be made of two metals. Some examples have a curved central part, and may be decorated with pieces of metal and real or artificial feathers that are attached with small clamps. Found in all cultures.  

L. Penachos (Stylized Metal Feathers)  

Stylized metal feathers used to decorate crowns. May be made of gold, silver, copper, or silver-covered copper.  

M. Tocados (Headdresses)  

Headdress ornaments which may be simple or complex. They may be made of one part, or may include many pieces. Found in all cultures. They may take the form of crowns, diadems, or small crowns. They may have two stylized feathers to decorate the crown and to hold it to the hair (especially the Chimu examples). Paracas examples generally have rayed appendages, with pierced disks suspended from the ends of the rays.  

N. Turbans  

Long pieces of cloth that are wrapped around the head. Metal ornaments may be sewn on turbans. Found in all cultures; the metal decorations and the cloth vary from culture to culture.  

O. Spoons  

Utilitarian object of gold, silver, or copper.  

P. Lime Spatulas  

Miniature spatula: a straight handle has a slightly spoon-shaped end. The handle may have an anthropomorphic figure. Made of gold, silver, or copper.  

Q. Ear Spools  

Ear spools are generally made of a large cylinder which fits through the earlobe and an even larger disk or decorative sheet on one side. The disk may be decorated with repousse, stamped, or engraved designs, or may have inset stone or shell. May be made of gold, silver, copper, or made of two metals. Ear spools are found in all cultures. The largest measure up to 15 cm. height; typical diameter: 5 cm.-14 cm.  

R. Nose Ornaments  

Of varied shapes, nose ornaments can be as simple as a straight tube or as complex as a flat sheet with repousse design. In the upper part, there are two points to attach the ornament to the septum. They may be of gold, silver, or copper or may be made of two metals.  

S. Earrings  

Decoration to be suspended from the earlobes.  

T. Rings  

Simple bands with or without designs. Some are two bands united by filigree spirals. Some have inset stones. May be of silver, gold, copper, or alloys.  

U. Bracelets  

Bracelets are made of sheets of metal with a straight or slightly trapezoidal shape, with stamped or repousse designs. Some are simple, narrow bands. Found in all cultures and with varied designs. May be of gold, silver, bronze, or alloys of copper. Generally 4 cm.-14 cm. in width.  

V. Necklaces  

Necklaces are made of beads and/or small carved beads. May be of shell, bone, stone, gold, silver, copper, or bronze. The beads are of varied shapes. All beads have two lateral perforations to hold the cord.  

W. Tweezers  

Made in one piece, with two identical ends and a flexed central handle. They are of varied shapes, including triangular, trapezoidal, and ovaloid. The middle of the handle may have a hole so the tweezers can be suspended from a cord.  

X. Feather Carrier  

Conical objects with a pointed, hollow end, into which feathers, llama skin, or monkey tails are inserted and held in place with tar. They may be made of gold, silver, or gilded or silver-plated copper.  

Next Section  

Home | Site Index | Disclaimer & Credits | Contact Us | Back To Top  
Revised: March 12, 1999

Peru Information Page 

Peru Image Collection

1997 Agreement 

1997 Federal Register Notice (html) (text)

1990 Federal Register Notice

Frequently Asked Questions

Search the Image Database

On October 1, 1999, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will become part of the
U.S. Department of State. Bureau webpages are being updated accordingly. Thank you for your patience.