Inca Art (Part II)

Inca Art (Part II)
Inca Art (Part II)

The Inca people is one of the most outstanding pre-Columbian cultures, their innovations in the arts or sciences tell us of a highly developed and well-structured people. If yesterday we analyzed Inca architecture and painting, today we will begin by talking about sculpture, which although it is often linked to other artistic forms, as was the case with painting, it presents a greater development and importance than pictorial activity.


Regarding the use of materials, we should point out that to date we have received sculptural works made of precious metals such as gold and silver, but we are also aware of other made of wood and especially of stone pieces as this is their favorite material. The sculptures represented both animal and vegetable figures and even several testimonies tell us of large sculptures with anthropomorphic representations of gods and humans, however, and unfortunately these have not survived to this day since most of them were made of precious metals and they were melted down in the Spanish conquest.

In general terms, we could say that Inca sculpture was always linked to the religious aspects of their culture, whether in rituals or sacrifices. The strokes are usually simple, of a schematic type with a more functional than decorative style. Some of the examplesThe most outstanding examples of Inca sculpture are the Saywite stone, the throne of the Inca or the sculpture of the puma at the Garcilaso de la Vega Museum.

Regarding the Inca ceramics we must point out that it was one of the artistic forms that had the greatest diffusion since its forms were assimilated by many of the neighboring peoples or that the Inca people were conquering. As a whole, ceramic production can be divided into two well-differentiated parts; On the one hand, we have the simplest forms corresponding to utilitarian ceramics and, on the other hand, more complex elaborations with greater decoration and detail. The latter used to be part of the funerary trousseau of the great dignitaries. As for the decoration, it is mainly of a geometric trend with ocher or blackish pigments that decorated the polished surface of the ceremonial vessels or pitchers.


Finally, highlight the metallurgical pieces that presented a unique development by perfecting the production techniques of previous peoples and many of the master craftsmen who made them came from conquered peoples by the Incas. Precious metals were used for fine gold work but as with sculpture, most of these objects were melted down by the Spanish.

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