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(quipu, “knot,” in the language of the Quechua Indians), a “writing” system consiting of knots, which existed among a number of Indian peoples in South America; the quipu was most widely known and used in the ancient Inca empire in what is now Peru.

The quipu consists of a thick cord or stick to which varying numbers of thinner cords were attached perpendicularly. The cords differed in color (which had symbolic meaning), length, number, and shape of the knots tied on them. Opinions vary as to the function of the quipu; according to the most questionable notion, the quipu contains the texts of chronicles, laws, decrees, and poetic works; according to another theory the quipu signifies only numerals—that is, it was a mnemonic device used for counting (the present-day Quechua Indians in Peru use the quipu for keeping accounts of livestock); since the oldest quipus were discovered in burials, a third theory suggests that they served as a part of burial rituals.


Diringer, D. Alfavit. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from English.)
Jensen, H. Die Schrift. Berlin, 1969.


References in periodicals archive ?
a knotted rope that the Greeks referred to as a schoinos or schoinion,
When traveling by water, the expedition measured distance and speed with a "log line reel," a knotted rope, which they let out then timed how long it took to play out.
Follow the waymarked route (Staffordshire Way with the knotted rope emblem) which twists a way to the ridgetop with the rock houses on your left.
They also like getting in the covered wagon to eat their sack lunches and swinging from a knotted rope swing on a huge old oak.
the prince asked his host, President Milan Kucan, before pulling the knotted rope.
Flores is a collection of four 10-inch octagonal luncheon/dessert plates in a floral pattern on one side is balanced by a knotted rope on the other.
Without letting go of knotted rope, blindfolded team tries to form an equilateral triangle (or other shape).
In his opening of the case, Mr Elias said: "Also with the body, and saved from destruction by burning, was a length of black knotted rope about three-and-a-half feet long.
The agency says the new brand - which features a knotted rope - aims to capture "the spirit of a neighbourhood, the life of a village and the soul of a city.
Knots actually weaken rope because when knotted rope is strained to breaking point it almost invariably fails at the knot or nearby.
They promptly padlocked one playmate to the metal clip on the knotted rope and let him down into the nettle-patch den.