Museum Collections - Ancient Peru - Chimú
Chimú refers to the general style of the kingdom of Chimor, the most powerful regional organization on the north coast of Peru. The kingdom originated in the Moche valley and spread outwards for 1300 km along the Pacific coast. The Chimú culture controlled two thirds of all irrigated land along the desert and its resident population. Its capital city, Chan Chan, was located in the Moche valley and covered a total area of 20 sq km.
Chan Chan was founded around A.D. 1000 and was partially abandoned when the Inka conquered the area in the 1470s. The site consists of ciudadelas, or rectangular compounds, surrounded by the residences of the Chimú kings. These residences were made of adobe (mud brick) or tapia (poured adobe) walls, some as high as 9 m. Low status domestic habitation and areas of craft production have been identified among some of the compounds. In addition to elaborate woven cloths, Chimú elites wore brilliant feather-covered and appliqué gold garments. Patterns on the wall reliefs at Chan Chan include angular birds and grids, which echo the geometry of textile structures and patterns. Textiles were probably the medium that influenced the architectural motifs.