Chief's poncho

late 19th century

Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas, United States

To achieve the balanced rhythm of white circles across a deep blue field, the artist who created this poncho employed the plangi dyeing technique. After the cloth was woven, the artist gathered evenly spaced portions of the cloth and wrapped and tied them to resist the indigo dye in circular patterns. Here, the binding of the wrapped areas has allowed the dye to penetrate just slightly, leaving delicate traces of blue that differ subtly on each of the circles.

The saturated blue that permeates this poncho was a labor intensive color to develop. For this reason, blue was an emblem of high status for the Ranquel people. The color may also have been symbolic of cosmic power, as it was for the related Mapuche people of Chile.


  • Title: Chief's poncho
  • Date Created: late 19th century
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 64 x 60 in. (1 m 62.56 cm x 1 m 52.4 cm)
  • Type: Costume
  • External Link: https://www.dma.org/object/artwork/5325795/
  • Medium: Wool
  • culture: Ranquel
  • Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, Textile Purchase Fund
  • Artist: Unknown

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