Crosses with stepped sides that present alternating red and white patterns on the rim (Illustration, Brugnoli et al. 1997:39 a)

Personages with different orientations suggesting movements present only on the central Module of the skirt (Illustration, Brugnoli et al. 1997:39 a)

Personages with different orientations suggesting movements (Illustration, Brugnoli et al. 1997:39 a

Unsolved mysteries

The interpretation we have made of the significance of the complex iconography of this Chimú ceremonial costume covers only some of the aspects of this complex textile. For many others we have not as yet found an interpretation, although it is possible to make certain suggestions.

The distribution of the colors presents a sequence that is quite common in the Andean region. The stepped crosses are designed alternatively in red and white, a pattern which could be related to the idea of duality, a widely accepted concept in the region. The societies tended to divide their political power structure in two parts, each of which was ruled by different authorities. The duality of the stepped crosses, which could be represented by the mummies of ancient rulers, might indicate a system of dual authority in Chimú society.

The personages with staffs, whom in this case we interpret to be in charge of the rituals, present a complex configuration in their orientation. Those situated around the stepped cross look away from it, while the personages in the smaller rectangular space alternate the direction of their gaze in opposite directions. At the same time, the torso and feet of several of the personages appear to be aligned in the same direction, while in others they are not. These patterns suggest the possibility that the personages are in movement, which would be coherent with Andean ceremonial rites, at which processions and dances are customary.

Other characteristics, especially those found in the singular distribution of the three-dimensional vegetables, contain structures or codes that we are still unable to interpret.