Spondylus princeps (mullu) belt, ca. AD 1450. Nasca region, Peru. Spondylus shell, wool, 131 x 7.5 cm
This belt is made of Spondylus princeps, a type of thorny oyster found off the coast of Ecuador. It is known as mullu in Quechua and was a highly prized religious material throughout the Andes. It was left as an offering at
temples and other sacred places and carved into ornaments worn by the Inka ruler, priests, and other elite figures in Inka society.
Photo by Ernest Amoroso / National Museum of the American Indian