By Carolyn J Dean
A tremendous contribution to either paintings historical past and Latin American reviews, A tradition of Stone deals subtle new insights into Inka tradition and the translation of non-Western artwork. Carolyn Dean makes a speciality of rock outcrops masterfully built-in into Inka structure, exquisitely labored masonry, and freestanding sacred rocks, explaining how sure stones took on lives in their personal and performed an essential function within the unfolding of Inka heritage. studying the a number of makes use of of stone, she argues that the Inka understood development in stone as a manner of ordering the chaos of unordered nature, changing untamed areas into domesticated areas, and laying declare to new territories. Dean contends that knowing what the rocks signified calls for seeing them because the Inka observed them: as possibly animate, sentient, and sacred. via cautious research of Inka stonework, colonial-period debts of the Inka, and modern ethnographic and folkloric stories of indigenous Andean tradition, Dean reconstructs the relationships among stonework and different features of Inka existence, together with imperial growth, worship, and agriculture. She additionally scrutinizes meanings imposed on Inka stone through the colonial Spanish and, later, via tourism and the vacationer undefined. A tradition of Stone is a compelling multidisciplinary argument for rethinking how we see and understand the Inka earlier.
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Additional info for A Culture of Stone: Inka Perspectives on Rock
Also focusing on carved rock is the work of anthropologist Maarten Van de Guchte, whose dissertation, “Carving the World,” considers the meaning and significance of outcrops in the region around the Inka’s capital of Cuzco. Van de Guchte describes the carving of specific rocks in detail and attempts to identify those carved rocks that 4. Detail of abstract design carved into megalithic wall, Ollantaytambo. 16 introduction were waka. His work is complemented by that of Brian S. 58 Rock waka could be carved or uncarved; although today these are often treated as separate—though clearly related—topics, the Inka used a variety of visual cues, identified in the following chapter, to signify the importance of certain rocks, whether carved or not.
52 As will be seen in later chapters, the utility of any particular rock had little impact on its perceived numinosity. One of the chief problems created when the notion of art is introduced to a consideration of Inka rockwork is that in the West, art is historically and often still seen in opposition to nature. While this is a broad and much-debated topic, I raise it here to make a single brief point. ”54 This fundamental and often still operative precept of Western thought, that art not only originally imitated but always competes with nature, is inherently at odds with ancient Andean beliefs and assumptions.
Certain animals, such as the serpent, the puma, and the condor—animals often carved near portals—were symbols of transition and so are also appropriate marks of liminal spaces. Framing, distancing, contouring, and carving emerge as fundamental strategies through which rocks that were part of the natural environment were visually reconceived as simultaneously participating in the Inka’s cultural environment. These methods of marking were not mutually exclusive; the so-called Puma Rock at Kenko Grande is partially framed, while the surface of the rock next to it is extensively carved (plate 2 and figure 10).
A Culture of Stone: Inka Perspectives on Rock by Carolyn J Dean