Textile Designs with Mushrooms

At Paracas, further south, an earlier culture thrived. Images of a jaguar god/jaguar shaman are very common from this group, suggesting religious concepts parallel to those of the Mayans and Olmecs. Julio Tello, who excavated the site, found pottery and other artifacts showing great style and sophistication. A large quantity of mummified bodies was recovered from one burial vault. With them were intricately woven textiles, whose colors were still vibrant after being interred for 2,200 years. Featured here is a motif from one costume from the burial, an embroidered poncho depicting shamans in flight. The white element of the headdress, with its smiling face, appears on other imagery from Paracas as a headdress of the jaguar shaman. All of the shamans of the textile hold these mushroom-shaped objects. This figure also holds a red-and-yellow rod that may be a snake. It is more likely a shamanic staff or wand and may have a relation to the so-called Staff-God appearing in pottery from nearby Nazca, and also to gargantuan statuary from Tiahuanaco. Other Paracas textiles of the Nazca culture feature fungi and also frogs or toads.

Images and excerpt from Adrian Morgan's Toads and Toadstools: The Natural History, Folklore, and Cultural Oddities of a Strange Association, (1995, pp. 140-141).

For more on hallucinogenic mushrooms and their history, see:

Textile Designs with Mushrooms
Textile Designs with Mushrooms2
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