The Inca The Land Essay

The Inca The Land Essay

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To the Inca the land was a very important and influential part of every day life, they worshiped it, built shrines to extenuate the landscape and dubbed certain features of the landscape as shrines in of themselves. Incas worshiped, “more than 400 shrines in and around”1 the heartland. Maintenance and ritual performance of these waka was very important to the Inca culture, thus they needed a system by which to organise these events. Everything in Inca life and rule revolved around the break up of social status, to no surprise we find similar planning with the organisation of waka. From the quartering off sectors toward elaborate sights, to the division into triad lines for social groups we see how the “elaborate ritual complex in the native Americas”2 mirrored and inscribed the social structure of Cuzco.
To understand how the Inca used social structure to interact with “sanctified terrain”3 we must first understand the set up of shrines themselves. Most of the Incas sacred places have been lost, only those that had been dressed up have hope of being found. Most of the “shrines distributed across the landscape were linked by zeq’e lines radiating from central Cuzco”4. By connecting the shrines by the idea of lines the Inca could keep track of the shrines and made it easier for them to allocate shrines to different groups. The way they recorded this information was likely in khipus, due to the similarity in layout, though no concrete evidence has been found so we have turned to the incomplete colonial records.

It was Tom Zuidema who proposed that the zeq’e system “reflected Cuzco’s kinship, marital customs, cosmic space and ceremonial calendrics”5. If we look at how the zeq’e system was divided, we can see a connection between p...


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...ation of shrines and the maintenance of important waka around the Cuzco heartland.
The unique complexity of the Inca’s planning infects all aspects of their lives from the way they count their labour, organize their social group, and even how they interact with the landscape. From the division of the horizon to the individual lines, the reflection of this is evident in the organization of the zeq’e system. Although the most prestigious of their shrines may not have been grand structures that took may men to create, but it was placed under the care of the most powerful panaqas. There is no down playing the intensity of important of every feature from the tiniest rock to a grand mountain, and as an Inca who better to care for it then the most powerful groups of society. Thus, the organization of the zeq’e system is intricately woven with the structure of Inca society.

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