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originally, an Indian tribe of the Quechua language group that inhabited Peru (South America) from the 11th to the 13th century; later, the ruling stratum in the state formed from a union of tribes. The formation of the Inca state—the Tawantin-suyu—dates from 1438. The state was a slave-holding despotate. The Incas levied a tribute from subjugated tribes and exploited the labor of ordinary commune members, artisans, and slaves— the yanacuna. The basic socioeconomic nucleus was the village commune—the ayllu. The land was regarded as belonging to the ruler—the Inca—whose power was encircled by a sacred halo. The first mythical ruler—Manco Capac—was revered as the sun’s offspring. The Incas used irrigation and erected buildings for military and administrative purposes. They devised a system for relaying information in the form of so-called knot-writing— quipu—as well as a rudimentary writing system. In 1532, Spanish conquerors, led by F. Pizarro, invaded the territory of the Incas. Their state was plundered and their culture destroyed. The Incas, after being subjugated by the Spaniards, became part of the Quechua nationality.

Inca architecture is known from descriptions and from numerous remains of buildings (temples, palaces, observatories, amphitheaters, and fortresses). Cyclopean structures made from colossal stones (the fortress of Sacsahuaman near Cusco) gave way to buildings of carefully hewn blocks of granite (the fortress of Pisac near Cusco). The Incas’ architecture is distinguished by the geometric simplicity of the low forms, solidity, and the almost complete lack of decoration. Vessels have been preserved, including figured ones, with brilliant black surfaces. The richest remains of the jeweler’s art, including the Curi-cancha (Golden Enclosure) of the Temple of the Sun in Cusco with plants, birds, butterflies, and figures of gold and silver, have almost completely perished.


Kinzhalov, R. V. Iskusstvo drevnei Ameriki. Moscow, 1962.
Lara, J. La cultura de los Inkas [vols. l]–2. La Paz-Cochabamba, 1966–67.
References in periodicals archive ?
The details of 'Design and construction' in chapter 13 have been addressed in other works on Inca architecture, including Rowe (1944), Gasparini & Margolies (1977), Kendall (1974/85) and Niles (1987).
exhibited the frozen mummy of an Inca girl discovered last year on a 20,000-foot mountain peak in southern Peru.
It is said that Tupac Yupanqui, the fifteenth-century Inca emperor, once passed through the remote Atacama Desert of northern Chile and spent some time at the village of Chiu-Chiu.
Instead of a town built hastily in an unlikely, well-hidden location by Incas fleeing the Spanish invasion of the 1530s, Machu Picchu is the finest surviving example of the late imperial Inca style of architecture untainted by European influences.
Ann Row, curator of "Fabric of the Inca Empire" and of the museum's Western Hemisphere Collections said that the exhibit is intended to foster an appreciation of Inca culture and its influence on the conquered provinces of the empire.
South America, once home to the ancient Inca civilisation.
An apparently insignificant rock was believed to be the place of birth of the sun, and therefore of the Inca civilization," Magli told Discovery News.
For it seems to me that if the Emperor were to desire another highway built like the one from Quito to Cuzco, or that which goes from Cuzco to Chile, I do not believe he could do it, with all his power and the men at his disposal, unless he followed the method the Incas employed.
offers an alternative explanation of the origins and development of the Inca state.
Or, Incas may have established Machu Picchu after fleeing from Cuzco before they were eventually wiped out by the invading Iberians.
The researchers--and many scholars pondering their report--believe the colorful knotted quipu strings found at a 13th century archaeological site near Lima, Peru, formed an early abacus system the Incas used to track the units of labor and time upon which taxes were based.
From a cliff high in the Peruvian Andes, I stared down at the ruins of Machu Picchu, the mysterious lost city of the Incas.