Artifact Details


Khipu (Quipu) replica

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Physical object


This replica was created by Carrie Brezine, of Harvard University's Khipu Database Project. An excerpt from her extensive notes on this replica: This khipu replica is based on khipu AS170 (the 170-th khipu studied by Marcia and Robert Ascher in their foundational study of khipus around the world). The original all-cotton khipu lives in Berlin at the Museum for Volkerkunde. Its museum number is VA42554. The khipu is said to be from Pachacamac, an important ritual center on the coast of Peru just south of present-day Lima. Compared to other Inka khipu, this example used a varied range of hues and complex spinning including many spliced cords. The inclusion of blue cords supports the idea that this khipu was made at or intended to be sent to an important political or religious center. Blue is a relatively rare color in the Andes, especially in cotton. Its use is frequently associated with textiles of rarity and/or high status. Green shades are also relatively unusual in khipu. The short yellow marker between cords 64 and 65 divides the khipu into two parts. The knots on this khipu follow the conventions of numeric valuation, although the placement of 10's, 100's, 1,000's etc are not as rigid as on some other examples. The cord with the highest value on this khipu is cord #8, whose knots total 11,554. Numbers this large ar enot often found on khipu; this supports the idea that VA42554 as perhaps a summary for a large region, or an accounting for a wealthy institution.




Brezine, Carrie

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When fanned out



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