Counting Khipu: de-structured

Watch and learn about the basic components of a Khipu from the Inca period

MALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Khipu video, its structure and technologyMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Materials, Colours, and Directions

Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of other khipu attributes in encoding information, such as the distribution of color patterns and the twisting of cords, the way in which the knots were tied, as well as the spacing between cords. 

Khipu video, its structure and technologyMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Basic Structure

A khipu’s basic structure consists of a main cord to which groups of pendant cords are attached, with the latter cords typically containing the knots.  

Khipu video, its structure and technologyMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Pendant Cords

These pendant cords can in turn have dependent strings, known as subsidiary cords. Some khipus even have a large cord at the top with the sum total of the khipu’s contents.   

Khipu video, its structure and technologyMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Counting in Khipu

The forms of the knots varied depending on the number to be recorded in the ones, tens, hundreds, or thousands position, etc.

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