Creative legacy of The Inca Art


The ancient empire of the Incas, also known as the empire of roads and cords, was extremely powerful, ambitious and their civilization reflected the material culture and traditions of the Andes. Rising from the Peruvian highlands nearly around the early 13th century, this civilization has finest examples of elaborate textiles, pottery, ceramics, metal-woodwork and architecture.

Incas excelled in many forms of art and they have a long tradition of creating fine textiles. Unlike other civilizations where we mostly see depictions of animals or natural forms as motifs on cloth, Incas textiles were known for their intricate geometric patterns and symbolic meaning of colors. The Andeans domesticated Llamas and Alpacas which provided them with soft, strong wool for weaving and making ropes. Textiles took the form of tunics and mantles and were considered more valuable than gold! 

The metal works found from this civilization tell us about the unique depictions of flora and fauna and the creative genius of their craftsmanship. Sculptures of llamas and humans made of gold have been unearthed by archaeologists while some figurines are found wearing finely woven textile. They also used silver, copper and other precious metals to make jewelry including bracelets, earrings and nose rings.

Apart from decorative items the Andean people also excelled in stylized pottery and ceramic objects. These objects were often functional and used for domestic or ritualistic purposes. The use of geometric designs similar to the textiles have been once again observed in the fascinating ceramic pieces. Big vessels made of ceramic were used for transport, storage, cooking food and also during the ceremonial consumptions of eating and drinking where different size and shapes of vessels were required.

Out of the many art forms seen in Incan empire the most celebrated is the architecture they created. The fine masonry involved in constructing famous sites like Machu Picchu is truly remarkable. The individual stones of varied size and shapes were fitted to each other (similar to building a puzzle) without the use of cement or mortar. Also referred to as a keyhole shape the doorways were crafted into trapezoidal shapes which was assumed to stabilize the architecture during earthquakes (Peru being seismically active).

We are fortunate to witness the power and grandeur of this empire from the limited number of Inca buildings and artifacts. Modern residents of the place and its surrounding areas are still proud of the Inca heritage-rich in art, architecture and cultural aspects. 

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