Ann Pollard Rowe’s career as a researcher, curator, and author spans archaeological, historic and ethnographic textiles of the Americas. Throughout her career Ann has demonstrated a passion for textile research, and her approach to integrating field research, archival scholarship and curatorial work is unparalleled. In the course of her work, Ann has established a vital dialogue with a new generation of Peruvian researchers and has helped to connect them with an international forum.
Ann was born in 1947 as the daughter of the Andean archaeologist John Howland Rowe. Her father’s research in Peru brought her into early contact with the pre-Columbian cultures of South America and had a formative influence. In 1972 she received an M.A. from Berkeley in the Department of Textile Arts and Design. She became curator of Western Hemisphere Textiles at the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C., a post she held for more than 30 years. Ann’s early publications Warp-Patterned Weaves of the Andes (1977) and Costumes and Featherwork of the Lords of Chimor: Textiles from Peru’s North Coast (1984) established her as a scholar of Andean weaving traditions. She is recognized as the foremost authority on Precolumbian textiles from Peru.
A dedicated scholar of Andean archaeological textiles, Ann also developed a strong program of ethnographic research. She became part of a research team investigating the living textile forms of Highland Ecuador, where she involved both young scholars and experienced practitioners in a variety of communities. The results were published as Costume and Identity in Highland Ecuador (1998), Weaving and Dyeing in Highland Ecuador (2007) and Costume and History in Highland Ecuador (2011).
As curator at the Textile Museum, she developed exhibitions, published seminal catalogues, and played a key role in developing the Textile Museum Journal. At the TM, Ann worked with her colleague Irene Emery, who was then focused on developing the structural analysis of textiles. Ann became a leading authority on systematic textile terminology. She helped organize pathbreaking conferences and co-edited the resulting volumes: The Junius B. Bird Pre-Columbian Textile Conference (1979) and The Junius B. Bird Conference on Andean Textiles, April 7th and 8th, 1984.
1973 Interlocking Warp and Weft in the Nasca 2 Style, Textile Museum Journal III(3): 67-78.1977. Weaving Styles in the Cuzco Area, Ethnographic Textiles of the Western Hemisphere, Irene Emery and Patricia Fiske (eds.), pp. 61-84. The Textile Museum, Washington.1977. Warp-Patterned Weaves of the Andes. The Textile Museum, Washington.
1979 Technical Features of Inca Tapestry Tunics, Textile Museum Journal 17: 5-28.
1979 Seriation of an Ica-Style Garment Type, The Junius B. Bird Pre-Columbian Textile Conference, Ann Pollard Rowe, Elizabeth P. Benson, and Anne-Louise Schaffer (eds.), pp. 185-218. The Textile Museum and Dumbarton Oaks, Washington.
1981 A Century of Change in Guatemalan Textiles. The Center for Inter-American Relations; University of Washington Press, Seattle.
1984 Costumes and Featherwork of the Lords of Chimor: Textiles from Peru’s North Coast. The Textile Museum, Washington.
1985 After Emery: Further Considerations of Fabric Classification and Terminology, The Textile Museum Journal 23: 53-71.
1986 Textiles from the Nasca Valley at the Time of the Fall of the Huari Empire, The Junius B. Bird Conference on Andean Textiles, Ann Pollard Rowe (ed.), pp. 151-182. The Textile Museum, Washington.
1991 Nasca Figurines and Costume, The Textile Museum Journal 29-30: 93-128.
1992 Provincial Inca Tunics of the South Coast of Peru, The Textile Museum Journal 31: 5-52.
1996 The Art of Peruvian Textiles (pp. 329-345), 19 entries and textile glossary, Andean Art at Dumbarton Oaks, Elizabeth Hill Boone (ed.), Dumbarton Oaks, Washington.
1997 Inca Weaving and Costume, The Textile Museum Journal 34-35: 5-53.
1998 Costume and Identity in Highland Ecuador, with Lynn A. Meisch, Laura M. Miller and others. The Textile Museum; University of Washington Press, Seattle.
2002 Hidden Threads of Peru: Q’ero Textiles, with John Cohen. The Textile Museum; Merrell Publishers, London.
2003 Ica Style Women’s Dress, The Textile Museum Journal 40-41: 98-117.
2005 Leaf Fibers in Highland Ecuador, with Laura M. Miller, Mrill Ingram, and Lynn A. Meisch; Spinning in Highland Ecuador, with Lynn A. Meisch and Laura Miller; Felt Hat Making in Highland Ecuador with Breenan Conterón; Plaited Hat Making in Highland Ecuador, in Others’ Words, Panama Hats, with Lynn A. Meisch. The Textile Museum Journal 42-43: 54-97, 114-128.
2006 Términos textiles en castellano, Actas, III Jornadas Internacionales sobre Textiles Precolombinos, Victòria Solanilla Demestre (ed.), pp. 443-469. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Institut Català de Cooperació Iberoamericana.
2007 Weaving and Dyeing in Highland Ecuador, with Laura M. Miller and Lynn A. Meisch. University of Texas Press, Austin.
2011 Costume and History in Highland Ecuador, with Lynn A. Meisch and others. University of Texas Press, Austin.
2012 Tie-dyed Tunics, Wari: Lords of the Ancient Andes, Susan E. Bergh (ed.), pp.192-205. Cleveland Museum of Art; Thames and Hudson, New York.
2012 Early Featherwork from Ocucaje, Peruvian Featherworks: Art of the Precolumbian Era, Heidi King (ed.), pp. 44-53, 206. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
2014 Technical Reflections of Highland-Coastal Relationships in Late Pre-Hispanic Tunics from Chillon and Chancay, Textiles, Technical Practice and Power in the Andes, Denise Arnold with Penelope Dransart (eds.), pp. 159-191. Archetype Publications, London.
Projects, Publications, and Exhibitions
Selected exhibitions for The Textile Museum
A Heritage of Color: Textile Traditions of the South Coast of Peru, May 22 – Oct. 21, 1973.
Peruvian Costume: A Weaver’s Art, April 4 – Aug. 31, 1974.
Peruvian Tapestry, May 13 – Oct. 9, 1975.
Warp-Patterned Weaves of the Andes, April 1 – Sept. 10, 1977. Also shown: Center for Inter-American Relations, New York, Sept. 21 – Nov. 13, 1977.
Peruvian Painted Textiles, Feb. 14 – June 13, 1981.
A Century of Change in Guatemalan Textiles, Nov. 11, 1981 – Jan. 10, 1982 at the Center for Inter-American Relations, New York. At the Textile Museum: Feb. 26 – May 18, 1982 (upstairs). Also shown: Boston Museum of Science, June 10 – Sept. 6, 1982; Musée du Pantheon National, Port au Prince, Haiti, July 28 – Sept. 29, 1983; The Museum, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Nov. 6, 1983 – Jan. 29, 1984; Alberta College of Art Gallery, March-April 1984.
Costumes and Featherwork of the Lords of Chimor: Textiles from Peru’s North Coast, Feb. 10 – May 20, 1984 (downstairs). Also shown: Dallas Museum of Art, June 22 – August 26, 1984.
Eagles to Roses in Chichicastenango Textiles, Nov. 10, 1988 – April 30, 1989.
Ed Rossbach: 40 Years of Exploration and Innovation in Fiber Art, March 29 – July 8, 1990 (downstairs). “Consulting curator,” contributed to catalogue, and wrote labels. Objects selected by Jane Fassett Brite, exhibit coordinated by Rebecca A.T. Stevens.
Layers of Imagination: Molas of the Kuna Indians, Sept. 2, 1989 -Jan. 21, 1990.
Fabric of the Inca Empire: Traditions Suppressed by the European Invasion, July 13, 1991 – January 5, 1992.
Women’s Costume from Chimaltenango, Guatemala, February 2 – June 2, 1996.
Costume and Identity in Highland Ecuador, May 28 – Sept. 5, 1999.
Hidden Threads of Peru: Q’ero Textiles, March 21 – August 18, 2002.
Gods and Empire: Huari Ceremonial Textiles, July 1, 2005 – January 15, 2006.
The Finishing Touch: Accessories from the Bolivian Highlands, February 15, 2008 – February 1, 2009.
Textile Committee of the Asociación Tikal, Guatemala City, advising on the establishment of the Museo Ixchel, Sept. 15-30, 1973.
Museum of the American Indian, New York, Araucanian textiles for Ancestors exhibition, June 15-16, 1978.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, pre-Hispanic Peruvian textiles, Sept. 1-4, 1981.
Dallas Museum of Art, pre-Hispanic Peruvian and twentieth century Guatemalan textiles, April 11-15, 1983.
Duke University Museum of Art, pre-Hispanic Peruvian textiles, May 4-6, 1987.
Museums of the Americas project, UNESCO, Lima, Peru, June 27-July 1, 1988.
University Museum, Philadelphia, pre-Hispanic Peruvian featherwork for Gift of Birds exhibition, June 12, 1990.
Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Guatemalan textiles, May 6-7, 1991.
The Brooklyn Museum, pre-Hispanic Peruvian textiles, December 6-14, 1993.
Art and Architecture Thesaurus Program of the Getty Art History Information Program, Williamstown, N.Y., textile terminology, June 21-22, 1995.
Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri, Columbia, pre-Hispanic Peruvian textiles, August 18-20, 2008.
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, reviewing a private collection offered to the Museum, July, 2010.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, writing labels for the exhibition, The Andean Tunic: 350 BCE – 1780 CE, March 8 – October 2, 2011.
Castello Sforzesco, Milan, reviewing textiles for the exhibition to open their new building, December 2-3, 5, 2013.