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Arts of the Americas

This large, impressive quipu is purported to have been discovered in a burial at the coastal site of Ancon, near Lima, Peru. The random appearance of the cords and knots indicates that it is a narrative quipu, a less common type than the administrative ones. Both quipu forms were in contemporaneous use because they conveyed different kinds of information.

Narrative quipus differ in construction from the standard decimal-format type by having thickly spun, Z-plied cords; an array of pendant and subsidiary cords in a variety of colors; and a profusion of knots placed seemingly at random rather than in separate, decimal-valued tiers.

Este impresionante quipu fue descubierto posiblemente en una sepultura en el área de la costa de Ancón, cerca de Lima, Perú. El aspecto aleatorio de las cuerdas y los nudos, indica que se trata de un quipu narrativo, un tipo de quipu menos común que los administrativos. Ambas clases de quipus se usaban contemporáneamente puesto que transmitían diferentes tipos de información.

La construcción de los quipus narrativos se diferencia del tipo estándar de formato decimal debido a sus gruesas cuerdas hiladas en Z; una serie de cuerdas colgantes y subsidiarias en una variedad de colores; y una profusión de nudos ubicados de modo aparentemente aleatorio, en lugar de tener hileras de valor decimal separadas.
MEDIUM Cotton, camelid fiber
DATES 1400-1532
PERIOD Late Horizon Period
DIMENSIONS 13 × 37 in. (33 × 94 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. John H. Finney
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Inca. Quipu, 1400-1532. Cotton, camelid fiber, 13 × 37 in. (33 × 94 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. Finney, 36.718. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 36.718_PS9.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 36.718_PS9.jpg., 2018
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Inca. <em>Quipu</em>, 1400-1532. Cotton, camelid fiber, 13 × 37 in. (33 × 94 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. John H. Finney, 36.718. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 36.718_PS9.jpg)