Date of Award

December 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Jean Hudson

Committee Members

Dawn Scher Thomae, David Pacifico


cross-knit looping, Malcolm K. Whyte, Milwaukee Public Museum, Nasca, Peru


Textiles associated with the Nasca culture (0-650 C.E.) from Peru’s South Coast have been recognized for their complex and colorful ecological, anthropomorphic, and geometric imagery. Little, however, has been written about their three-dimensional cross-knit looping and embroidery. Cross-knit looping produced three-dimensional figures that were part of an elaborate border on clothing and a style specifically associated with the Nasca (Sawyer 1997:24, 27, 41, 97, 131-132, 136 for example). This thesis focuses on Nasca textiles primarily from the Malcolm K. Whyte (Accession Numbers: 18046 and 20517) collection at the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) and includes three-dimensional cross-knit looping of ecological and anthropomorphic subject matter. I have identified a total of 127 Nasca cross-knit looped related catalog numbers which consist of 331 individual fragments. This thesis will use the ecology and cultural history of Peru’s South Coast as a starting point to evaluate connections between the natural world of the Nasca and the iconography present on their cultural products. The methodology in this research involves a museological approach that integrates collection management, textile analysis, and quantitative determination of decorative trends.