The Double Khipu

In-Khipu Tour

MALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Double Khipu found in Inkawasi, Cañete (1400/1532) by Inca CultureMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

This double khipu Inca was discovered in the site of Inkawasi, located in the Cañete Valley, on the south coast of Peru.

The main cord measures 200 cm, while the pendant cords are approximately 66 cm.

A series of joined khipus containing similar records, such as this exhibited here, could suggest a type of accounting system, similar to credit and debit transactions in today’s financial system.

During Incan times, these khipus were likely used to record things such as the number of people who had to perform a work shift vs. the number of people who had already done their shift, or food produced vs. food consumed, among other uses.

According to one historical account, there was an event during the Conquista in which Pizarro and his men were removing goods from a royal storehouse, while the Inca administrator looked on, recording everything on a khipu by untying knots in one section of the khipu and retying them in another.

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