The Rapaz Khipu, a tradition that have continued into the modern era

Know about one example of khipu used during the Republican period in the highlands of Lima.

MALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The Rapáz Khipu (2005) by Gabriela YepesMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The Central Andean community of San Cristóbal de Rapaz treasures a massive khipu in the heart of its walled and locked ceremonial precinct.

The Rapáz Khipu (2005) by Gabriela YepesMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

Located at over 4,000 meters above sea level in the highlands of Lima, the town of Rapaz is home to a group of khipus joined together in the form of a conglomeration, consisting of over two hundred specimens that are kept inside the Kaha Wayi, or “[community] house/box.” 

The Rapáz Khipu (2005) by Gabriela YepesMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

There, ceremonies are performed to consult with the mountains, the owners of the rains, during which community members pay their “compliments” to the cordillera, and converse confidentially about the status of communal agricultural and shepherding activities. 

The Rapáz Khipu (2005) by Gabriela YepesMALI, Museo de Arte de Lima

The great khipu of Rapaz, which dates back to the nineteenth century, includes fragments of untanned leather, wool tufts and pompoms, and textile figurines depicting famous individuals from Peru’s campaign for independence, during which the Oyón region played a part in the liberating army’s tactical movements.

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