Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Inca lines and textures

Qorikancha at the Convento de Santa Domingo del Cusco

Over the last couple of months I’ve been fairly inundated by inca ruins, stones, formations, stories, legends and more. Starting at the supposed birthplace of the first incas, Isla del Sol at Lago Titicaca, then unknowingly whizzing past other ruins on the way to Arequipa, visiting one of the main coastal cities, Pachacamac just south of Lima, pre Inca terraces in the Colca canyon, Juanita, the 12 y/o Inca princess who travelled on foot from Cusco to Arequipa to be sacrificed to appease the gods, of course the wonderous Machu Picchu, the still living inca town of  Ollantaytanbo,  biospheric greenhouse like terraces of Moray, Huchuy Qosqo, Pisaq, Saksaywaman, Tambomachay, Inca trails and lots more.

The Inca´s were only around for ONE century (1400-1525AD... more on the Inca´s), and even though much of what is now seen as Inca was built on pre-inca civilisations, it´s still damn impressive what they achieved. The large cities, advanced irrigation (their terraces not only made useful land out of steep slopes, but filtered a lot of water), beautiful and exact stonework make for pretty impressive constructions and ruins, and this is not even looking at the beautiful and colourful textiles, gold and silver minatures, jewellery, pottery, knotted ropes as used to relay messages and of course the famed kilometers of Inca trails.

I´ve pulled together some of my favourite images from inca sights… I love the lines created by terraces and stonework, the clever anti-earthquake designs and immensity of some of the stones.

The ´newer´convent of Santa Domingo built on top of Inca foundations

Incan astronomy... they interpreted the black and used stars as reference points

Beautiful flowing terraces on the approach to Huchuy Qosqo (little Cusco)  awesomely only accessible by a 3 hour climb or 10 hr hike

Along an inca trail towards Huchuy Qosqo ... integration of irrigation channels, terraces, bridges

You often just see remains of terraces, houses or temples dotted around. This one near Tambomachay just outside of Cusco.

Using the terraced form to create salineras (salt pans) at Maras in the Sacred Valley

Clever steps up the terraces... these at Moray

These concentric terraces at Moray created sub-climates that allowed the pre-incas to grow a variety of crops (including over 3000 varieties of potatoes)

Nothing Incan, but the lines are reminiscent of.

Of course... Machu Picchu!

Amazing stonework ... beautiful combination of fluid and geometric forms

One type of roof system at Machu Picchu.

The incline was about 40deg, the path up narrow, steep and slippery. 500m above the Machu Picchu site they still built their temples

Soft stone pools used in astronomical observations

Between the 2 layers, the ´cement´was a mixture of mud, loose small stones and dirt

Alternative roof system... see the stone with the circle? This was to tie through rope for the roof beams

Many of the houses at MP are 2 storey.. making use of the incline

Water channels... for temple and civilian use

Inca bridge (destroyed to prevent attack) literally carved out of the rockface on the entry to Machu Picchu.

The terraces made use out of steep inclines of land... consisting of a larger rock later at the bottom, increasing to smaller and then a soil later at the top. It also filtered the water.

Narrow original inca street at the town of Ollantaytambo

The trapezoidal form of the doorway was earthquake proof

Inca wall in Cusco... there is also a 12 sided stone (10 edges with front and back) that exemplifies the Inca stonework

More pre-incan terraces at the Colca Canyon

Terraces, a football field and paths winding their way up the Colca Canyon

Colourful maiz... corn that was and is a diet staple

Grinding the corn to flour

A desert dog... sort of feels like a cats tongue to touch their skin

In Lima.  terraced adobe brick forms the temple

Beautiful textiles (with plans used to dye colours) from pre-incas

Quipu.. believed to be the only written language of the Incas.. a series of knots into different lengths of string

The red plaster is original... pre-inca!

Adobe brickwork at Pachacamac, south of Lima

Central East West street of Pachacamac... 

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