Inca art (I part)

Inca art (I part)
Inca art (I part)

The Inca culture, also known as the Quechua or Inca culture, was the last of the great pre-Columbian cultures that resisted the arrival of the Spanish and some of its rites and traditions are still preserved today. Its empire, which today are the territories of Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, its wide expansion was closely related to its ability to assume some of the traits of the previous peoples that they gradually conquered.


On this occasion we will focus on the art that this unique culture has bequeathed to us, being perhaps, its architecture the most well-known manifestation thanks to the great architectural ensembles such as the well-known citadel of Macchu Picchu. Broadly speaking, we can point out some general characteristics for the great Quechua constructions, such as the simplicity and austerity in their forms, eliminating most of the unnecessary decorations and emphasizing the symmetry of their forms. In terms of the use of materials, we must highlight above all the use of stone, whether it is carved -for those more notable constructions- or uncarved and always joined without mortar, that is, to bone.

Normally the great Inca constructions are associated with megalomanism, their size is so great that it is often difficult to understand how they could have been built especially in places so far away andintricate like Machu Picchu. Some of the most important temples built by the Incas are La Casa del Sol on Lake Titicaca or Amarucancha in Cuzco. But the Incas were also concerned with the urban planning of their cities, so that in the ancient cities we can find wide avenues that led to a central square similar to the Roman forum, as well as canal systems for water or long roads that connected the cities, saving the slopes of the mountains with rope bridges that have stood the test of time.

Regarding painting, the Inca culture did not develop a remarkable production, a curious fact compared to other previous pre-Inca cultures who do have samples of great value and quality artistic. Actually this phenomenon has a simple explanation and it is that the Incas, did not conceive of painting as an art in itself but as a complement to other artistic activities whether it was architecture, ceramics… this would explain why most of the pictorial manifestations that have come down to us have been made as murals or as ceramic decoration.


The painting normally had a commemorative purpose, so it tried to bear witness to some noteworthy events, although most of the manifestations correspond to an abstract art that is difficult to interpret instead of realistic and naturalistic works that are rarer.

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