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Inca Art


It is commonly believe the pottery was the only Inca art the Incas create. The true is the Incas master many disciplines of art. In this page you will find a brief explanation of the principal artwork expressions of this old culture.

The Inca Pottery is the best well know artwork of the Incas. The main shape of pottery was the (macka or puy'un); it was a simple conical base ceramic. Today we call this shape of ceramics (aryballos) the mane came from the Greeks, because they develop ceramics with the same shape as the Incas. The reason of similar shape of ceramics is because both cultures solve a common problem with identical solution.

The Inca Clothing is another interesting Inca art expression. The Inca textile techniques use to make clothing were copy from other cultures. It is simple to explain, when the Incas conquer a new culture, they fusion all technology available into their own. All clothing has the characteristic of unique geometric designs. The designs, color and the quality of the textile define the social class, family lineage, government authorities and military status.
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    • aryballo
      The Aryballos were the most common pottery for the Incas.
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    • aryballo Inca
      The Incas design special Aryballos for religious ceremonies.
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    • parrots
      Parrot feathers were use to decorate the helmets of the Inca warriors.

The painting was a rudimentary Inca art expression. First, they plaster a wall with mud; next they apply a white color base to the wall. The design is draw in the wall with stone tools; then with bigger stone tools, the design is carve in the wall. When the carving is finish, they paint the wall with natural colors.

The Incas use feathers to decorate everything. The Inca artisans were capable to handle the delicate feathers with great skills. They use feathers to decorate Inca Masks, head decorations, temple walls decorations, armors of brave Inca warriors, manual fans and many other useful artifacts. The Incas got the feathers by hunting and breeding different tropical birds, especially parrots.

The Inca art of working metals was remarkable. But they did not develop this technology by themselves; they collect it from other cultures by kidnapping the metal artisans. Ones they were under the control of the Inca Empire, they were order to make Inca Jewelry for the Inca King. The descendants of the metal artisans improve their techniques by accepting private orders from religious authorities or renowned warriors.

During the Spanish conquest of the Incas, the Spanish melt all Inca Gold artifacts they find. It is impossible to imagine how many artifacts the Spanish conquerors destroy. Ones they found a new temple, they loot it, collected all gold and silver they could, melt it, made coins and ship it to Spain. It is sad that greed destroy such beautiful art.

The main instrument of the Inca Music was the flute. Reed is the main material to make an Inca flute, but also they use clay, silver or even human bones. Surprisingly the music Inca art has not string instruments; they only knew wind and percussion instruments. Music was use to motivate the workers in the daily day of work. Also music was use in special religious ceremonies.
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    • bone flute
      The Incas use human bones to make flutes.
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    • Inca flute
      This was the main Inca instrument, known today as Sampo'a.
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    • kero Inca
      Peruvian artisans still make Keros for daily use in the Peruvian highlands.

Poetry in a culture that doesn't have writing is difficult to believe. But the Inca poetry was real, they tell their poems while dancing and singing the words. The main message of the poetry was wishes of good health, good crops and war victories. The poetry start as military propaganda to build reputation for Inca Warriors, so warriors will inspire in the warriors of the poems. Time after it became popular for Inca authorities and rich families to hire Inca poets in special celebrations.

Carving wood was a simple Inca art expression. They mainly produce Queros; which are large, wood glasses, decorated with three-dimensional figures of animals. They carve jaguars, condors, llamas and representations of past events. Some Queros are wonderful among the Inca Artifacts, because they use gold, silver and gemstones to decorate them; the special Queros were use in religious ceremonies.

Craving stone is the most unbelievable Inca art of all. It is impossible to imagine how the Inca Architecture engineers were capable to design such perfect buildings. We know they divide the workforce in three. First, they have a group responsible of cutting the large blocks of rock. Second, the artisans that give the geometric shape that was need it. And finally the group responsible of polish the stone using sand, after that, the stone was ready to be ship to the construction site.
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