Beginner's Guide

Learn about Inka textiles, ceramics, metalwork, and architecture.

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Introduction to the Inka
Introduction to the Inka

The Inka empire spanned from Ecuador to Chile, and was connected by a road system used for official business only.

Keru Vessel
Keru Vessel

Although this vessel depicts a royal Inka couple, it was produced after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.

Inka stone vessels
Inka stone vessels

These receptacles held liquid offerings, the surface of the liquid were eyes that saw into the underworld.

What is an Inka ushnu?
What is an Inka ushnu?

Sites for ritual activity, ushnus occupied the best real estate, chosen for their views of snow-capped mountains.

Inka ushnus: landscape, site and symbol in the Andes
Inka ushnus: landscape, site and symbol in the Andes

The Inkas dominated the landscape, and littered it with symbols of their presence—in particular these platforms.

All-T’oqapu Tunic
All-T’oqapu Tunic

Andean cultures had long valued textiles, but they were especially significant and finely-made in the Inka Empire.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

The Inka emperor hosted feasts, performed religious ceremonies, and ruled his empire from this remote citadel.

Maize cobs
Maize cobs

A life-size metallic garden at the Qorikancha included these corn cobs, llamas, and other offerings.

City of Cusco
City of Cusco

It has been argued that Cusco was laid out in the shape of a puma, symbolizing Inka might.

Selected Contributors | Inka art