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Peruvian Quipu. Source: YouTube Screenshot / The New York Times.

Quipu: An Enigmatic Communication System of Ancient Peru (Video)

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In the remote highlands of Peru lies a unique community, San Cristobal de la Paz, where the ancient Inca language, Quechua, still resonates at an altitude of 13,000 feet. Here, amidst the rugged beauty, a mystery from the past persists. Anthropologist Frank Solomon, an expert on Quechua culture, unveils the enigmatic Quipu, cryptic woven knots dating back to the time of the Inca. In a land without a written record, these Quipu are believed to have served as a means of communication across the vast Inca empire. While many Quipu reside in foreign museums, those in this community remain an integral part of their culture, sacred objects intertwined with ritual and governance. Ceremonies entail offerings, invoking deities, and even guinea pig sacrifices to appease the land's spirits.

For these people, the Quipu collection is their treasure, a heritage they safeguard with unwavering determination. To them, protecting the Quipu is akin to preserving a nation's founding documents. Yet, as modernization encroaches even upon this remote enclave, the future of their connection to these ancient knots remains uncertain. San Cristobal de la Paz stands as a symbol of the resilience of a people bound by their past, where the mysteries of the Quipu continue to weave their enigmatic story, defying the passage of time.

Top image: Peruvian Quipu. Source: YouTube Screenshot / The New York Times.

By Robbie Mitchell

 
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Robbie

I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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