Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 7-23-2020


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.



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Margaret Jackson

Second Committee Member

Kevin Mulhearn

Third Committee Member

Kirsten Buick


khipu, quipu, Inka, Inca, Wari, Huari