A rare and fragile pre-Incan funeral shroud was displayed to reporters Monday, part of the first batch of ancient Paracas textiles that Sweden is returning to Peru 80 years after they were smuggled out by a diplomat.
The intricately colored shroud, measuring 41 inches by 21 inches (104 centimeters by 53 centimeters), and 88 other textiles were donated to a museum in Gothenburg in the early 1930s by Swedish consul Sven Karell. He had secreted them out of Peru after they were discovered in the Paracas Peninsula, a desert south of Lima where the extremely dry climate helped protect the Alpaca wool fibers.
Despite being some 2,000 years old, “it is perfectly preserved,” said Krzysztof Makowski, a University of Warsaw archaeologist who has studied the shroud as a professor at the Catholic University of Peru. “Across the world, the discoveries of textiles of this age are much rarer than any precious metal.” Read more.