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Chimú Silver Alloy Shawl Pin Tupu

Chimú Silver Alloy Shawl Pin Tupu

Regular price €285,00
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Pre-Columbian era, Chimú culture, c. 800-1470AD, Moche Valley, Trujillo, Peru.

Magnificent and highly elegant hammered silver alloy (untested) tunic pin called tupu (also spelled "topu" or "topo"), a Quechua term for pin. The needle-form body tapers to a point and holds a thin discoid finial on top. The primary metal is silver but the alloy possibly contains also small quantities copper. Women in the Andes typically used these pins to fasten textile garments, such as the acsu or lliclla. This garment is a rectangular textile made of camelid wool that wraps around the body. They fasten the garment at their shoulders, and the tip of the tupu’s stem points upward or is oriented on a diagonal. The basic tupu form consists of a head and a stem, but there is wide variation in their design. Silver was an extremely precious metal to the ancient peoples of Pre-Columbian South America as silver had to be mined, smelted and refined from ore. Believed to have come from the moon, silver was considered a feminine element and only the most noble, wealth classes had the privilege to own it.

Excellent condition. Intact. Wear consistent with age and use. Light corrosion. A fine patina envelops in layers deep dark greyish hues. Size approx. 14,7cm x 0,2cm x 1,2cm.

Provenance: From the estate of archaeologist Ferdinand Anton (1929-2003). Operated in South and Central America during the 1960's and 70's with acquisitions during the same time. 

For a similar examples see:

Tupu (pin), The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  Accession Number: 64.228.606 (

Pin or Tupu, The Brooklyn Museum, Accession Number: 41.1275.315 (

References and further reading:

Tupu, The Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (

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