Peru displays pre-Inca shroud returned from Sweden

media captionThe BBC's Arrun Soma: "A very delicate homecoming"

An ancient Peruvian funeral shroud dating back to the pre-Inca period has gone on display in Lima after being returned from Sweden.

The Shroud of Gothenburg is described as uniquely complex, with more than 80 hues of blue, green, yellow and red woven into a pattern of 32 frames.

The shroud is one of four ancient Paracas textiles being returned, under an inter-governmental agreement.

They were smuggled out of Peru by a Swedish diplomat 80 years ago.

Researchers believe the images on the shroud functioned as a calendar of farming seasons.

The shroud, which has gone on display at the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima, shows condors, frogs, cats, corn, cassava and people.

Another 85 textiles are expected to be returned by 2021.

They were produced by the civilisation that flourished in the Paracas peninsula, in the south-west of modern-day Peru.

Although the shrouds are around 2,000 years old, archaeologists say they are perfectly preserved.

The Paracas funerary bundles "had been lowered into dry, cold and salty desert sand, protected from factors of deterioration such as oxygen and UV light," says Sweden's National Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe shroud that has gone on display in Peru is one of 89 textiles being repatriated from Gothenburg
image copyrightReuters
image captionThe textiles feature condors, frogs, cats, corn, cassava and humans
image copyrightReuters
image captionSwedish textile experts opens a box containing the shroud named Calendar
image copyrightReuters
image captionThe shrouds, which were discovered in the 1920s, are made of dyed alpaca wool

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