Skip to search
Skip to main content
Title starts with
Author (sorted by title)
Call number (browse)
Princeton University Library Catalog
Quipu, [before 1600].
1 item (a fifty-one strand Inca quipu) ; 78 x 101 cm.
Forms part of the Princeton Mesoamerican Collection (C0940).
The only known form of pre-Columbian "writing" in South America is the Incan quipu. Incan clerks, known as quipucamayo, were trained to record and translate these quipus as "memoranda or registers made from strands of cord, in which different knots and colors signify different things. It is incredible what they have comprehended in this way, for what books can say of histories, laws, ceremonies, and business accounts... is provided very precisely by the quipu," wrote a Spanish colonial observer. This 51-strand quipu is typical of surviving examples, which date from the 13th and 16th centuries.
Gift of Gerard B. Lambert, ca. 1975.
Elizabeth P .Benson "The Quipu: 'Written' Texts in Ancient Peru." Princeton University Library Chronicle 37, no. 1 (1975). pp. 11-23.
Princeton Mesoamerican Manuscripts, no. 5, Manuscripts Division, Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
Also available in an electronic version.
Statement on language in description
Princeton University Library aims to describe library materials in a manner that is respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in the collections we manage.
Ask a Question
Suggest a Correction
Report Harmful Language