Encyclopedia of the Incas

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Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno, [].

Ayllu origin narratives typically end with founding ancestors turning to stone. Accord- ing to the chronicler Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, the ancestors of the Inca kings, five brothers and five sisters, emerged from a cave in Pacariqtambo and set out in search of a place to settle. Eventually they crossed a hill called Huanacauri overlooking the Cuzco valley, site of their future city. On that hilltop one of the brothers, Ayar Uchu, turned to stone and became a very powerful and sacred huaca shrine.

On reaching the site itself, another brother, Ayar Auca, turned into a huanca large boulder indicating possession of an agricultural locale. The senior brother, Ayar Manco, became the first paramount ruler Manco Capac ; after death his body became a rock and was venerated as the oldest of the royal mummies.

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Rural ayllus also had their ancestral huacas and huancas. They were worshipped during canal-cleaning festivals with panpipe music and offerings of coca leaves. In the central highlands many ayllus were composed of two groups consisting of original inhabitants called huari and new- comers called llacuaz. Far from being inert chunks of matter, ancestral stones powerfully condensed the life force of ayllu founders and ensured their permanence. Bodies of the deceased, when properly mummified, condensed a life force similar to that of the petrified founding ancestors. Typically, flexed bodies of the dead were wrapped in layers of cloth and placed in caves, burial towers, or shaft tombs.

The most important mummies had their own shrines. The mummy was ensconced in a curtained shrine, wrapped in six layers of embroidered cloth and bedecked with feathers and golden ornaments.


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People of the region attributed their prosperity to Libiac Concharco, and often carried him from place to place to receive offerings. Mallquis were felt to be essential for the well-being of their ayllus, responsible for seasonal rains and the health and fecundity of people, crops, and herds. Their relationship with the living was a reciprocal one. Like living people, mummies got hungry and thirsty and needed sustenance and care. Fields and pastures were set aside to provide for them. Llamas, guinea pigs and, in extreme cases, children, were sacrificed to them.

The priests also served as mediums who could communicate with the mallquis, ask for their counsel in times of crisis, and relay their advice to the ayllu see Oracles. People approached huacas and mallquis as they did chiefs and Inca nobility, with a gesture of obeisance mocha that entailed extending the right hand, placing the left hand on the forehead and making a kissing sound with the lips. Collective worship took place before harvest and sowing when ayllu members gathered at their pacarinas, or places or origin. Probably these festivals provided a context in which origin myths might be revised and reinterpreted in light of then-current political realities and other changing circumstances.

Richly adorned mummies of deceased Cuzco nobility were placed on golden stools in the plaza in order of seniority. The Inca ruler, together with a high priest, drank chicha maize beer from a large golden beaker and poured libations for the Creator, the Sun and Thunder see Deities; Religion. Then there came a procession of priests bearing yet more mummified nobility from Upper and Lower Cuzco.

Spanish Conquest of the Incan Empire

They too were seated in rank order, after which everyone set to sharing food and drink, singing and dancing together. The Inca shared chicha with the noble mummies, who consumed it through the persons of their appointed retainer-priests; the mummies in turn sent beakers of chicha to the Inca ruler.

Molina and other observers saw these festivals as excess and debauchery, not un- derstanding the profound significance of commensality for Andean people see Feasts, State-Sponsored. Food sharing was the fundamental expression of kinship; to eat and drink together was to partake of the same substance. The intoxication and intense conviviality that shocked Spanish missionaries occurred in this ritual framework and had the purpose of joining the living and the dead in prosperous, harmonious community.

The Spanish conquest was profoundly traumatic for the Andean populace in many respects, not the least of which was the destruction of huacas and mallquis, along with the requirement that the dead receive Christian burial within churches and cemeteries. People grieved for their forebears, bereft of offerings and suffering from hunger and thirst.

Indeed, some of our best information about pre-Spanish burial practices and ancestral rites comes from missionaries who zealously tracked down the would-be mallquis and carried them back for Christian burial.

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Encyclopedia of the Incas / edited by Gary Urton and Adriana Von Hagen.

Severing the bond between living Andean peoples and their ancestors dealt a decisive blow to the Inca way of life. Ancestor worship forged connections among the living and the dead that were fundamental to Inca society and culture. Bonds between the living and their dead were physical and communicative, forged through close proximity and commensality.

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Inca Empire - Wikipedia

See details. See all 3 brand new listings. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Jones , Hardcover. Over colour photographs, paintings, artefacts, maps and artworks bring the ancient cultures of the South America to vivid life. The history of the Incas fascinates the modern world. This groundbreaking book separates fact from fiction, exploring the native people of Peru and the Andes, their mythologies and ancient belief systems, and the amazing beauty of Inca art and architecture.

It opens with the culture and history of its many kingdoms and their mythological rituals and beliefs. The second half of the book focuses on the day-to-day lives of ordinary people and the beautiful art they created, such as ceramics, gold- and silverwork and fabrics.

This authoritative volume combines over striking illustrations with lively and engaging text. From the dizzying heights of the Andean cordilleras to the golden kingdoms of coastal Peru and onwards to the Incas the story unfolds with breathtaking clarity. Convert currency.

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