Modern quipu

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Abstract

Deep in the heart of an Andean village, hidden in a wooden box in a secret chamber under the altar of the colonial church, lie two quipus -- knotted and coloured cords used as 'writing' -- that are regarded as sacred by the villagers who guard them. These mysterious cords were created in the 1780s as epistles sent from one community to another, calling for a revolt against the Spanish in the name of the Inka Emperor. In these two colourful and sensuous texts, we see the ancient Andean art of quipu-making united with the worldwide revolutionary fervour of the late eighteenth century, making them an ideal representation of the Latin American transatlantic encounter. This essay will focus on one of these two epistles -- the Yacapar quipu, which was created during the festival of Corpus Christi in 1782 and signed with the lineage (ayllu) name of its creator -- Ciriaco Flores of the Yacapar lineage in the neighbouring hamlet of San Mateo de Otao.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew world objects of knowledge
Subtitle of host publicationa cabinet of curiosities
EditorsMark Thurner, Juan Pimentel
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherUniversity of London Press
Chapter16
Pages121-125
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781908857835
ISBN (Print)9781908857828
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

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