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Large Pin (Tupu)

Decorative Arts

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
Whereas the commissioned European-style portraits on view in this gallery helped Creoles assert their social position, Peru’s indigenous elite used other visual traditions to negotiate power and privilege through self-representation. High-ranking Andean women wore untailored dresses called anacus throughout the colonial period, typically topped with a lliclla, a mantle or shawl worn across the shoulders, and secured with one or more tupus, metal pins with large, often elaborately worked, ornamental heads (see illustration).

This indigenous Andean garment from the early colonial period retains pre-Hispanic design principles and iconography such as coya (wives of Inca kings) and feline figures while incorporating a feminine European visual vocabulary of bird and flower imagery that would have been associated with elite status by the Spanish in the New World.


Mientras los retratos de encargo en el estilo europeo que se ven en esta galería ayudaban a los criollos a validar su posición social, la élite indígena peruana utilizaba otros modos de representación para demostrar privilegios y poder. Durante el periodo colonial, las mujeres andinas de alto rango usaban vestidos simples llamados anacus, típicamente cubiertos por una lliclla, un manto o chal llevado sobre los hombros y sujetado con uno o más tupus, broches de metal que frecuentemente tenían cabezas ornamentales grandes y elaboradas (ver ilustración).

Esta vestimenta indígena andina del periodo colonial temprano conserva principios de diseño e iconografía precolombinos como las coyas (esposas de los reyes inca) y las figuras felinas, al mismo tiempo que incorpora pájaros y flores, elementos del vocabulario visual europeo femenino que los españoles en el Nuevo Mundo asociaban con un estatus de élite.

MEDIUM Silver
  • Place Made: Peru
  • DATES 17th-18th century
    DIMENSIONS 12 1/8 x 6 5/16 in. (30.8 x 16 cm)
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 41.1275.238
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Large, disk-shaped pin (tupu) with a repoussé design of a stylized urn with branches of grapes, a common ornamental form derived from vases that flank altars frequently seen in Cusco statue paintings. This tupu, which was meant to be worn upside down, was used by Andean women to secure their dresses and shawls.
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