Knots telling ancient stories

By April 24, 2012Peru

Believe it or not, but this is not just a normal necklace, it is a unique, around 5000 year old way of communication of Incan ethnic groups – Quipus or “talking knots”.

A Quipu is a language, based on a numeric ten positioning system. It usually consisted of up to 2000 colored, spun and plied thread or strings from llama or alpaca hair. Depending on the type of knot and its positioning, Quipu specialists could encode statistic information about inhabitants, soldiers, animals, properties or even historical events. When handed over to such the expert had to be informed though, what topic it was about to then read the numeric information.

Quipus are seen as evidence, that language derived from numeric and accounting systems. The Ethnic Museum in Berlin presents the biggest collection with 298 Quipus.


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