The Ttio Khipus

The significance of the Ttio khipus and their connection to documentations from the 1800s

MALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The Ttio KhipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The art of the khipu did not disappear with the collapse of the Inca Empire. On the contrary, the khipukamayuq or khipu experts adapted this versatile recording system to a host of new contexts, some imposed after the Spanish Conquest and the establishment of colonial society.

The Ttio KhipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Thanks to the information recorded in a personal diary found in Cuzco, we now know that khipus remained in common use in the mid-nineteenth century

The Ttio KhipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The dated document tells how in 1857, Gaspar Ortiz de Zevallos, the nephew of the parish priest of Calca, was in charge of collecting the annual church taxes levied on the births and deaths that occurred in Ttio, a community located in the upper part of Calca. 

The Ttio KhipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Ortiz noted that the supervisors in the local parish used khipus to gather this information. According to his detailed descriptions, these khipus were organized in a calendrical form, with exact dates recorded using cords to mark the months of the year and the knots for each day of the week, with the exception of Sundays, which were differentiated by colored loops.  

The Ttio KhipusMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The author also mentions the use of different colors in those khipus that distinguished different groups or categories of residents.  

Credits: Story

[José Carlos de la Puente]

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