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God Tied in Knots: Searching for the Sacred Khipus of the Andes

God Tied in Knots: Searching for the Sacred Khipus of the Andes

It once was thought that khipus — the mysterious knotted cord texts of the Andes — died out soon after the Spanish conquest of the Inkas in 1532. We now know that post-Inka khipu use flourished for over four centuries in remote highland villages in Peru. Most of the surviving khipus bear a religious significance, either transmitting sacred knowledge themselves or playing a central role in local religious rituals.

In this talk, Professor Sabine Hyland, Department of Social Anthropology (School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Film Studies) describes her search for these secretive khipu texts in the Central Andes, and her involvement in the on-going decipherment of this three dimensional writing system.

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