To Write or Knot? Recent Advances in the Study of Andean Knotted Cord Records
Dec 05, 2013
from 05:30 PM to 07:00 PM
|Where||Dumbarton Oaks Music Room|
By reservation only
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Gary Urton, Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies and Chairman of the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
The khipu (quipu) was the main device used for administrative record keeping in the Inka empire of Pre-Columbian South America. Researches have gained a good understanding of the principles of khipu recording and accounting for administrative purposes. However, Spanish observers of Inka record keeping at the time of the conquest stated that htis knotted-cord device was also used for recording narrative events of the past. This talk reviews what we have learned to date regarding khipu record keeping and speculates on how we may go about investigating the still undeciphered narrative contents of these extraordinary records.