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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 ?
Quipu e um dispositivo de gravacao, organizado por meio de cordoes coloridos e nos, compostos de fios de algodao ou la, ocasionalmente fibra de animais andinos como a lhama e a alpaca, ou, embora nao muito comum, feito de cabelos humanos.
Brokaw, Galen, "El quipu en la epoca colonial", en Carmen Arellano y Gary Urton (eds.
En la primera, los articulos seleccionados estudian las funciones del quipu durante la Colonia, resultado del llamado <<choque historico>>.
2, presentes en las vacas y novillas de primer parto del hato lechero de la hacienda Paysandu de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, codigo QUIPU 20101006713, financiado por la Direccion de Investigacion de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia sede Medellin.
19) Esta actividad reune d un grupo de activistas diversos y de diferentes organizaciones que anudan delgados telares de los colores de la bandera del arcoiris (asociada a comunidades LGBT), que forman el quipu.
Este trabajo fue financiado por la Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Codigo Quipu 201010007294, 20101009540) y por Colciencias (Instituto Colombiano para la Ciencia y la Tecnologia) (Contrato numero: 1118-452-21042)) (colectas de larvas).
The quipu --a kind of woolen abacus, just as ancient.
Throughout history, different types of manipulatives have been used to aid in comprehension of mathematical concepts including quipu, abaci and pattern blocks.
Although Andeans had semiotic systems such as the quipu and the tocapu, both of which maintained records of cultural and collective memory and were used in the administration and historization of Tawantinsuyu, much of their worldview, history, and myths were recorded and communicated through corporal sign systems and physical topography.
El presente trabajo se desarrollo como parte de las actividades del proyecto de investigacion: "Estudio farmacologico de posibles antiartriticos de origen natural en un modelo murino", financiado por la Division de Investigacion de Bogota de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNC) (Proyecto QUIPU 20301007495).
In fact, the Tawantinsuyu looked like a big quipu, in the way it was organized both geographically and socially (Zuidema 1982).