It is very late at night but I´m determined to write this entry because time just keeps flying and I feel hopelessly behind in telling you about what we´re seeing! Our group of 24 archeologists, anthropologists, art historians, ecological engineers and language teachers is having the time of our lives meeting the folks who have made spectacular discoveries and advances in Peruvian archeology recently.
My clever title to this post is a reference to a children´s book called “It Happened In Pinsk” in which a Russian Jewish man named Irv Irving loses his head out of envy – he actually wakes up one day and finds he has lost his head, so his wife sews him one out of a pillow case while he goes in search of his lost head.
I thought of this book when viewing an effigy head from one of the Paracas mummy bundles made by the Nazca people many years ago, here is an image which I am too tired to try to paste in at this moment – see http://www.kumihimoconf.org/R1.jpg
A very comforting and silly looking head for a people who were involved in headhunting and decapitation as a major ritual… Actually this very large head is supposed to be the large outside display for ancestor worship of a person who has passed from the status of corpse and morphed into a giant ancestor worthy of worship. Textile expert Mary Frame has an excellent article describing the images on the weavings which wrapped the Paracas mummies – some of the finest weavings in the world, with incredible detail. Here is another image of just the outer layer of a corpse which been bundled up for the afterlife:
These beautiful weavings were created a couple of thousand years ago and preserved by the arid sands of the Paracas peninsula.
A simple comment for this one–how is it that children’s stories are so often so gruesome? Apparently this is the same in a great number of cultures, but I’ve never understood it!