Scholars once considered Inka khipus (14th-16th CE) to be a technological development unique to the Inka Empire. We now know that the earlier central Andean Wari (6th-11th CE) also made use of khipus, calling into question the Inka primacy of the technology. Understanding the origins and transformation of khipu notation in the Andes sheds light on the ways that information technologies figured into Andean state formation and administration, and impacts larger understandings of how tactile notational systems develop into writing and information storage. This study articulates how, just as the Inka inherited khipu technology from the Wari, the Wari were themselves heirs to technological traditions deriving from textile-based means of information storage and transmission originally from the South Coast Paracas and Nasca area (c.800BCE – 800CE). Here, I trace the physical evidence and processes by which specialized weaving aids from very early times may have been modified into more generalized information carriers.
Level of Degree
UNM Department of Art and Art History
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
khipu, quipu, Inka, Inca, Wari, Huari
Cheek, William M.. "The Origins and Development of Textile Writing in Peru." (2020). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/arth_etds/95