South American Indians: Indians of the Andes in the Pre-Inca Period

views updated


The Andean region is formed by the Andes mountain range, which extends the entire length of western South America. This region can be divided into three geographically contrasting subareas: the highlands, the coast, and the eastern cordillera. In the highlands the intermontane valleys lie at altitudes of between three and four thousand meters. These valleys were the places in which the Chavín (tenth to first centuries bce), Tiahuanaco-Huari (eighth to tenth centuries ce), and Inca (fifteenth century ce) cultures flourished. In the region along the Pacific coast, composed mostly of low-lying desert plains, life was concentrated out of necessity in the valleys formed by the rivers that drain from the highlands into the ocean. The coastal valleys in the Peruvian sector of the Andes region were the cradles of cultures such as the Moche (second to eighth centuries ce), the Paracas-Nazca (second to eighth centuries ce), and the Chimú (twelfth to fifteenth centuries ce), who devised colossal irrigation works that enabled them to bring extensive areas of desert under cultivation. The dramatic, abruptly changing topography of the eastern cordillera is covered by dense tropical vegetation. Peoples of the intermontane valleys entered this region and built the cities of Machu Picchu and Pajatén, and they terraced vast areas of the rugged, wooded hillsides to gain land for cultivation and to prevent erosion.

The sheltered agricultural cultures of the Andes have interrelated since ancient times. The areas where such cultures did not develop, although geographically "Andean," are not considered part of the Andean cultural region. The territory of the central Andesbasically equivalent to present-day Perubecame the center of the Andean cultural process. The northern Andes (parts of present-day Colombia and Ecuador) was the scene of the Quimbaya and Muisca (Chibcha) cultures and of the earlier Valdivia culture, which may have given the initial impulse to the entire high-Andean culture.

More than ten thousand years have passed since human beings first trod the Andes. The earliest settlers were hunters and Neolithic agriculturalists. By the third millennium bce there appear incipient signs of complex cultures, such as that of Aldas on the northern coast of Peru, whose people built monumental temples. During the second and first millennia bce, the appearance of Valdivia and Chavín represented the first flowering of developed culture, which set the foundation for the developments that eventually culminated in the Inca empire. By the time that Europeans arrived in the Americas, the Inca empire stretched for more than four thousand miles along the western part of South America, from southern Colombia in the north to Maule, in south central Chile, in the south. The empire passed into Spanish dominion in 1532, when Atahuallpa, the thirteenth and last of the Inca sovereigns, was beheaded. From then on, the breakdown of indigenous Andean cultural values is apparent.

Sources of Documentation

Study of Andean religion rests on two principle sources: the reports of early chroniclers and the archaeological documentation that presents a visual record of Andean civilizations. A number of chronicles exist that were written in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by Indians, mestizos, and Spaniards (who based their accounts on the reports of native informants). There are also other reportsfiles relating to the prosecution of cases of "witchcraft"that remain scattered in archives, mostly unedited. The detailed reports composed by the "eradicators of idolatries" are of special value. For the most part, the chroniclers' accounts are interwoven with evident prejudices of divers origin.

Even though the archaeological and iconographic evidence is scanty, it may be that the conclusions drawn from it are founded on a firmer basis than are those derived from chroniclers' reports. Naturally, study of iconography requires specific hermeneutic methods, especially when drawings are heavily loaded with symbols or are confusingly executed. Present-day Andean religious practices (especially in rural areas), which in many cases represent survivals of the pre-Conquest Andean religious world, represent a third source of documentation.

Subsistence and Religion

The peoples of the Andes are predisposed toward mysticism and ceremonial; even today, Andeans are steeped in an elaborate religious tradition. A significant part of their intense religiosity may be explained by ecological factors: No other agricultural society in the world has had to face a more hostile environment than that of the Andes region, with its vast areas of desert, its enormous wastes, and the heavy tropical vegetation that covers the mountains' rugged eastern flanks. All physical effort, all organization of human labor, and all technological solutions are insufficient to counter the environment, to whose ordinary harshness are added nature's frequent scourges, especially droughts. This endemic state of crisis could only be exorcised, it seems, through intense magico-religious practices; only through manipulation of supernatural powers have Andean peoples believed it possible to guarantee their existence.

The dramatic situation imposed by the environment perhaps explains why Andean religiosity appears to have been unencumbered by the moralizing of other religious traditions. Rules such as "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not commit adultery" were of course enforced, but theft and adultery were considered social offenses: It was the duty of the administrators of state law to punish offenders. There was no concept of a future expiation. The relationship between religion and morality was closest in regard to behavior toward the deities; if their worship was not properly carried out, they were affronted, resulting in a series of calamities that could be checked through prayers, weeping, and sacrifices. The hostility of nature in the Andes led to a permanently febrile state of religiosity.

Gods of Sustenance

Andean deities jointly governed both individual and collective existence by providing sustenance. Soil fertility plays a significant role in Andean religion, as demonstrated by the profuse worship given to the deities that personified and controlled the forces of nature. The gods, though individualized, form a hieratic unit and share one focus: the economic state of the people. They are conceived in the image of nature, which simultaneously separates and conjoins the creative forces, masculine and feminine. Thus the first basic division appears in the opposition of Inti-Viracocha-Pachacámac and Quilla-Pachamama. Both of these deity-configurations are creative forces, but in accordance with the social order of the sexes, the supremacy of the former, masculine element is asserted. The powerful Illapa ("thunder, weather") is also integrated into the sphere of Inti-Viracocha-Pachacámac, but, above all his other functions, Illapa directly provides life-giving rain.


Glimpses of a culture hero on whom divine attributes have been superimposed can be seen in the figure of Viracocha, and therefore Pierre Duviols (1977) and María Rostworowski de Diez Canseco (1983) correctly deny him the character of a creator god. Because of these same divine attributes, however, Viracocha was thought by the sixteenth-century Spaniards to resemble the God of Christianity, although Christian-Andean syncretism preserved some aspects of Viracocha's indigenous origin. Thus, according to the stories told about him, Viracocha molded humans in clay or sculpted them in stone. (They finally spring from the womb of Pachamama, "mother earth," which is sometimes represented as a cave.) On the other hand, stories about Viracocha also portray him as entering into confrontations with other divine beings and as engaged in other tasks ordinarily associated with culture heroes (for example, "teaching the created people"). Evidence of Viracocha's original character as a god of sustenance may be found in the prayer to him that was transcribed by the seventeenth-century chronicler Cristobal de Molina, in which Viracocha is presumed to be based "in thunder and tempests." Franklin Pease (1973) assigns to him outright solar and fertility attributes.


The myth of Pachacámac ("animator of the world") links this Andean deity even more strongly than Viracocha with the creation of the first generation of human beings. This deity is characterized, above all, as bringing to humankind the food necessary for survival as a result of the entreaties of a primordial woman, Mother Earth. The provision of edible plants is shown in other myths: In one of these, Pachacámac disguises himself, taking the form of the sun (in some instances, the son, the brother, or even the father of Pachacámac, according to the chronicler Francisco Lopez de Gómara), who with his rays fertilizes the primordial woman, perhaps the incarnation of Pachamama. In another myth, Pachacámac kills what he has created, and this action may be interpreted as the institution of human sacrifice to nourish the food and fertility deities. When the victim is buried, his teeth sprout maize, his bones become manioc, and so on.


According to both the surviving mythic literature and the images discovered by archaeologists, the masculine creative force was incarnated in Inti, the sun. He offers heat and light, and his rays possess fertilizing powers, as is evident in the myth of Pachacámac. Mythic literature testifies to the Andeans' reliance on the power of the sun and to their anxiety that he may disappear, causing cataclysm and the destruction of humankind (an event that would be followed by the creation of a new generation of humans). This anxiety explains the redoubled prayers and supplications during solar eclipsesrituals that ended with loud cries and lamentations (even domestic animals were whipped to make them howl!). Archaeological evidence of another form of magico-religious defense against this premonition of the tragic disappearance of the sun is found in stone altars called intihuatanas, a word revealingly translated as "the place where the sun is tied." Inti was also associated with fertility through water, as when the sun ceases to give light, yielding to clouds and rain (which would seem a contradiction were it not for the fact that the thunder and weather god Illapa was conjoined with the sun). In visual representations, particularly those at Chavín and Tiahuanaco, Inti appears with big teardrops that surely symbolize rain. Gold was the symbol par excellence of the sun, and the robes of head shamans were covered with oscillating metal disks that reflected the sun's rays and imitated its radiance.


Pachamama ("mother earth") symbolized the feminine element of divinity for the Andeans. Pachamama is incarnated as the primordial mother of mythic literature, and she is personified as Quilla, the moon. In this connection she is symbolized by silver; with this metal many representations of Pachamama were made, especially in the form of the half-moon (called tumi ), which was one of the most important religious symbols of the Andes. The cult of Pachamama was, and still is, extensive (Mariscotti de Görlitz, 1978). Pachamama was held to be the producer of food, animals, and the first human. As primordial mother, she creates through the fertilizing action of the Sun, and she later becomes co-donor of food plants, especially maize.

The mythological literature tells of several female supernatural beings. These are likely regional versions of Pachamama. Among them are Chaupiñanca, the primordial mother of Huarochirí mythology; Illa, who appears in the mythic traditions of the Ecuadorian Andes; and Urpihuáchac, sister and wife of Pachacámac, who seems to be an expression of Cochamama, the marine form of Pachamama. To Cochamama is attributed the creation of fish and of seabirds such as the guanay, which latter act is in turn related to agricultural productivity because of the use of guano to fertilize crops.

Ancient documents show that Pachamama was individualized ad infinitum to guarantee the abundance of specific producemaize, for example. Andean iconography offers representations of Pachamama incarnated in specific vegetable forms: multiple ears of maize, for instance, or groups of potatoes. In other instances these agricultural products metaphorically acquire human aspects, and they are also portrayed as being fertilized by a supernatural, anthropomorphic personage. Pachamama in her Cochamama aspect also appears to symbolize the presence of abundant wateressential for fertilizing the agricultural fields.

The symbolism of Pachamama has implications regarding the social status of women: As compared with the male element of divinity, Pachamama, the female, is clearly a passive and subaltern being. Her dependence on the male is established in the mythological literature. She uses her feminine attributes to win from the male gods favors, such as irrigation canals, that are beneficial to the collectivity. Pachamama also enshrines the modesty and passivity in sexual matters that characterizes the Andean woman to this day. The attitude of sexual modesty is to be seen in the many representations that appear to show versions of Pachamama, from the archaic terracotta figures of Valdivia to those of the late Chancay civilization of the central coast of Peru. In all these, sexual characteristics are not pronounced: The figures seem to represent almost asexual beings, and they remind one of the existence of non-Christian sexual taboos (see Kauffmann Doig, 1979a). Not only do these figures rarely stress sexual characteristics, but, curiously, they seldom portray pregnant women or women giving birth. Perhaps the anthropomorphic figures with birdlike attributes that appear on the walls of Pajaténwhich figures are shown in crouching positions with spread legsare in fact female procreators (Kauffmann Doig, 1983, p. 531). Except for the cases of sexual representations from Vicus and, especially, in Moche art (both from the northern coast of Peru), images of women found throughout the Andean culture region seem to underscore that female sexuality was marked by modesty.

Pachamama continues to play an important role in the deeply rooted peasant magic of today's Andean people. She is even venerated in Christian churches. In the Peruvian village of Huaylas, for example, Saramama (a version of Pachamama) is venerated in the form of two female saints who are joined in a single sculpturelike Siamese twinsto give visual representation to a pathetic fallacy: the symbolization of abundance that is identified in the double or multiple ears of grain that maize plants often generously produce.


The deity Illapa (generally translated as "thunder," "lightning," or "weather") occupies a preferential place in the Andean pantheon. Much of the mythological literature makes reference to Illapa, who takes on regional names and is expressed in varying forms: Yaro, Ñamoc, Libiac, Catequil, Pariacaca, Thunapa (possibly), and so on. To refer to these beings as if they were separate would be artificially to crowd the Andean pantheon by creating too great a number of distinct deitiesa trap into which many interpreters, both early and recent, have fallen. Illapa may be seen as the incarnation of Inti, the sun, in Illapa's primary mythic form of a hawk or eagle (indi means "bird" in Quechua), a form to which were added human and feline attributes; thus Inti-Illapa may be said to be a true binomial in the Andean pantheon.

Associated with meteorological phenomena such as thunder, lightning, clouds, and rainbows, Illapa personifies rain, the element that fecundates the earth. As the direct source of sustenancegiving rains to the highlands and rivers and rich alluvial soils to the coastal valleysIllapa is revered in a special and universal way. Yet he is also feared: for the crash of his thunder, for lightning that kills, for catastrophic hailstorms, severe floods, and even perhaps earthquakes. The worst of his scourges is drought. Proof of Illapa's prestige is the major temple to him (individualized as the ruler of atmospheric phenomena) that stood in Cuzco, the Inca capital; according to the plan of Cuzco drawn by Guaman Poma and the description written by Molina, Illapa's temple was rivalled only by the Coricancha, the temple of the sun.

After the Conquest, Andeans fused Illapa with images of James the Apostle, a syncretism perhaps suggested by earlier Spanish traditions. In the realm of folklore, Illapa's cult may be said still to flourish in the veneration of hills and high mountains, which are the nesting places of the huamani (falcons) sacred to this deity. Also associated with Illapa are the apus, the spirits of the mountains, and the spirits of the lakes, which, if they are not worshiped, make the waves rise destructively, and which are offended if approached by someone not protected by the sacred coca leaf.

When he appears as an incarnation of, or as joined to, Inti, Illapa may be represented by a male feline with human and avian attributes. According to iconographic studies, Illapa's image as the "flying feline," or "tiger bird" (Kauffmann Doig, 1967; 1983, p. 225) is still current in the Andes, as witnessed in the oral documentation collected by Bernard Mishkin (1963) regarding Qoa, a god who is ruler of meteorological phenomena. Qoa still appears as a flying cat, his eyes throwing out lightning and his urine transformed into fertilizing rain. Pictorial representations of the "tiger bird," which have been made since the formative period, especially in Chavín and allied art (see below) have recently been related to Qoa by Johan Reinhard (1985, pp. 1920).

Andean Iconography

Iconographic portrayal of supernatural beings is abundant and dates back more than three thousand years. In iconographic representations, supernatural beings are configured in complex ways; their hierarchal aspects are emphasized, and some achieve the status of gods. Supernatural beings other than gods are the figures represented in Sechín and in some Chavín art. Beings with the rank of gods are found in Chavín and related culturesVicús, Moche, Paracas-Nazca, Tiahuanaco, Huari, and others (especially Lambayeque).

Mythological literature indicates that those male beings who fertilize Mother Earth form the topmost division of the hierarchy of the Andean pantheon, which, again, is made up of deities of sustenance. One of the most obvious expressions of the Andean gods' character as providers is the anthropomorphic wooden figure of Huari style adorned with symbols referring to basic food products that was found in the temples of Pachacámac near Lima.

The image of a conspicuously superior being is found in the initial stages of high Andean civilization (especially in Chavín and related cultures). This image, typically a human form with feline and raptorial-bird attributes, is repeated in practically all the Andean cultures that succeeded Chavín, with variations of secondary importance. At Chavín, such hierarchal figures of the highest order appear on the Raimondi Stela; although lacking human elements, the figures on the Tello Obelisk and the Yauya Stela, both Chavín in style, may also be considered as representations of the highest level of being, because of their monumental stature and fine execution. The central figure of the Door of the Sun at Tiahuanaco is an almost anthropomorphic representation of the highest-ranking god. Attributes of a culture hero are perhaps also incorporated here.

A frequently encountered image of what was perhaps the same god as the one described above (but represented in a clearer and more accessible form) is that of a hybrid being that also had a form somewhere between a feline and a bird of prey (a falcon?), represented naturalistically, in which elements of human anatomy are sometimes completely absent. This "winged feline" may be the most ancient and authentic representation known to us of an Andean god. The convoluted, baroque style of Chavín art is responsible for the fact the the "winged feline" has sometimes been identified as a caiman and sometimes as a lobster, a shrimp, or even a spider. These animals, however, do not appear in relation to the divine sphere at any later stage of Andean culture.

Supernatural beings of the highest category are to be found in representations of the culture-heroes/gods Ai-apaec and Ñaymlap and of the gods at Tiahuanaco and Paracas-Nazca. All are anthropomorphic beings that combine traits of both bird and feline; in this context they imply an evolutionary development of the older "winged feline" of Chavín. In the archetypical versions of Ai-apaec, the figure bears wings (Kauffmann Doig, 1976; 1983, pp. 362, 624). At Paracas-Nazca, one figure seems to represent an evolution from a purely birdlike body into one that incorporates human elements (Kauffmann Doig, 1983, pp. 303, 325, 331332). Feline and ornithomorphic ingredients are evident in the large figures at Tiahuanaco and Huari; from their eyes fall large tears in the form of birds, which, since Eugenio Yacovleff (1932) and even before, have been interpreted as symbolic of the fertilizing rainwater of Pachamama (Mamapacha).

Connubial gods in which the male element radiates fertilizing solar rays are found especially in the iconography derived from Huari and, more particularly, in the valleys of Huara, Pativilca, and Casma on the coast of Peru (Kauffmann Doig, 1979a, pp. 6, 60). The examples of Inca art that have survived have but scant votive content. But both the feline and the falcon continue to occupy their place of honor among iconographic elements, as may be seen in the "heraldic shield" of the Inca rulers drawn by Guaman Poma.

Forms of Worship

Through acts of worship, the sphere of the sacred could be manipulated to benefit humankind. The effectiveness of human intervention into the realm of the supernatural powers depended on the intensity with which the rites were performed. In the Andean world, where natural factors put agricultural production and even existence itself to a constant test, worship assumed an extraordinary intensity and richness of form. The calamities that endangered personal and collective welfare were believed to have been caused by offenses to supernatural beings and especially to a lack of intensity in worship. Offerings to the gods of sustenance and to other supernatural beings related to them complemented the cultic display. Cruel sacrifices were necessary to worship's efficacy; in times of crisis they were performed lavishly and included human sacrifices.

The diversity of forms of worship in this region was due in part to the variety of forms of divine or magical conditions that these people perceived. These conditions were in general denoted by the term huaca, which can be translated as "holy." Huaca could refer to various unusual geographical features (including special stones, hills, lakes, etc.), heavenly bodies, atmospheric phenomena, mummies, amulets, idols, and even the Inca (i.e., the ruler) himself in his capacity as a living god.

The popular form of communication with huaca (i.e. the entire supernatural world) was effected through the muchay ("worship, reverence"). Muchay was performed by removing one's sandals, gesticulating, throwing kisses, murmuring supplications, bowing one's shoulders in humility, puffing out one's cheeks to blow in the direction of the object worshiped, and so on. Other forms of contact with supernatural beings were made through oracles, whose traditions go back to early forms of Andean cultures, such as the Chavín. Oracles were represented in the form of idols located in sanctuaries such as the famous one of Pachacámac, near Lima; these oracles rendered predictions about important future events to shamans and priests.

To make an offering was an act of paying tribute. Offerings were made voluntarily, but they were also collected in the form of compulsory tribute, the administration of which was centralized in temples. A widespread, popular offering was mullo, a powder made of ground seashells, which by association was linked to fertility through water; another was coca (Erythroxylon coca ) in the form of a masticated wad. Stone cairns in the high passes were places of worship; wads of coca would be thrown in a ritual act called Togana. The mummified dead were offered special jars containing grains, fruits, and liquids. Guinea pigs and llamas served as important sacrificial offerings.

Among sacrifices, that of young boys and girls was the most important; sometimes human sacrifice was performed by walling up a living female person. It appears that among the Inca the sacrifice of boys and girls was received as a form of tribute, called the capaccocha, from the provinces. The person who was to serve as the capaccocha was delivered to the capital city of Cuzco in great pomp; after his death, his remains were returned to his homeland and mummified; the mummy acquired votive rank and was the object of supplications for health and agricultural welfare. Necropompa (Span., "death rite") was a special type of human sacrifice that consisted of immolations (voluntary or not) that were performed on the occasion of the death of an illustrious person (Araníbar, 1961). Decapitation of human sacrificial victims had been performed since ancient times: The Sechín stone sculpture of northern Peru depicting this practice is over three thousand years old. Head shrinking was rare and there is no evidence of cannibalism in the Andean region. (Though in the myths there are a number of supernatural beings, such as Carhuincho, Carhuallo, and Achké, who are anthropophagous.) Human sacrifice, performed to achieve greater agricultural fertility, drew its rationale from the principle that the Andeans believed governed nature: Death engenders life.

The dead, mummified and revered, were expected to implore the supernatural powers for sustenance, soil fertility, abundant water, and the multiplication of domestic animals. Often bodies were buried in the cultivated fields in order to enrich them. As has recently been reported from Ayacucho, Peru, this practice survives in secret, isolated cases even to the present day: A mentally ill person is selected, intoxicated with liquor, thrown into a pit, and buried alive. Such "strengthening" rites were, according to sixteenth-century chroniclers, also practiced in laying the foundations of houses and bridges, and traces of these rites also have been recently reported from the central Andes.

Funeral rites included expressions of grief such as loud sobbing intermingled with chants in praise of the deceased; a practice that also survives in isolated areas of the Andes. The dead were mummified and taken to their tombs on stretchers. Peoples of the arid coast practiced earth burial, but in the highlands mummies were placedsingly or in groupsin pucullos, or chullupas (mausoleums that were built on almost inaccessible outcrops of rock). Individual or collective tombs were also hollowed out of extremely steep mountainsides. With few exceptions (e.g., among the Moche), bodies were buried in seated positions. Frequently the hands held the head, perhaps to simulate the fetal position. These "living" corpses were surrounded with food and drink, weapons, and other belongings meant to serve as provisions in the hereafter; some were buried with their mouths open, both to express the terror of sacrifice and to voice supplications to the gods for success in agriculture.

Religious festivals were celebrated continuously in the great plazas of Cuzco and at temples such as the Coricancha, the temple of the sun. Festivals dedicated to specific themes, especially in the context of food production, were held monthly with great pomp; the sovereign Inca presided, and guests were invited at his expense. Great quantities of chicha (maize beer) were consumed, drunk from ceremonial wooden vessels (queros ).

Andeans have made pilgrimages since the remote times of Chavín, and one of the favorite huacas, or shrines, was the sanctuary of Pachacámac. "Natural" shrines such as those on the peaks of high mountains were also popular with pilgrims. The Collur Riti festival, a celebration that coincides with the Feast of Corpus Christi, follows ancient rites in which to this day people climb to heights of almost five thousand meters. Some of the pilgrims dress as "bear men," imitating the gestures of animals and speaking in animal-like voices; they act as intermediaries between other pilgrims and supernatural beings. Originally, the Collur Riti was dedicated to water, and even today pilgrims return to their homes with pieces of ice carved from the mountain glaciers, symbolizing the fertility imparted by water. In the past, pilgrims fasted for variable periods of time, abstaining from maize beer, ají (Capsicum anuum ), and sexual intercourse.

Medicine and Magic

Shamans use maracas in their healing rites, a practice carried on into the present by Andean curanderos (Span., "healers"). The curanderos also use hallucinogenic substances to cause them to enter the trance state. The San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pabhanoi) is a powerful hallucinogen used particularly on the Peruvian coast; it gives the curandero the ability to discover the cause of an illness. In the highlands the diagnosis is still made by rubbing the body of a sick person with a guinea pig or with substances such as maize powder. The cure was effected through the use of medicinal plants. Today, curanderos complement their ancient remedies with modern pharmaceutical products.

Divination was often performed under the influence of hallucinogens or coca. Several studies, among them those of Alana Cordy-Collins (1977) and Ralph Cané (1985) speculate that the intricate art of Chavín originated in hallucinogenic experiences.

Institutionalized worship gave rise to a rich range of folk magic. Thus, for example, there were magic love-stones (guacangui). Small stone sculptures of domestic animals, used to propitiate the spirits of abundance, are still produced. Ceramic figures representing vigorous bulls (toritos de Pucará) are still placed on rooftops, where they signify prosperity and fertility and offer magical protection of the home.


Andean mysticism and ritual experienced a vigorous rejuvenescence some thirty years after the Spanish conquest in the form of the nativistic movement called Taqui Oncoy (see Duviols, 1977; Millones, 1964; Ossio, 1973; Curatola, 1977; Urbano, 1981). The aims of this sixteenth-century messianic movement were to drive the white invaders from the land and to reinstate the structures of the lost Inca past. The movement's power was based on the worship of huacas, the popular form of Andean religiosity after the Sun had lost its credibility with the defeat inflicted by the Christian God. By a kind of magic purification, Taqui Oncoy sought to free the land from European intrusion after it was no longer possible to do so by force of arms. The movement's adherents believed that, with intensified supplications and increased offerings, the huacas could become powerful enough to help reestablish the old order. This movement declined after ten years, but the hope of a return to the Inca past is still alive, although it is confined more and more to middle-class intellectual circles in Peru and Bolivia.

The messianic myth of Inkarri (from Span., Inca rey, "Inca king") should also be mentioned here. Originally recorded by José María Arguedas (1956), the myth centers on a figure, Inkarri, who is the son of the Sun and a "wild woman." According to Nathan Wachtel (1977), this archetypal "vision of a conquered people," although of native extraction, seems to be immersed in syncretism. The cult of Inkarri lacks the action that characterized the Taqui Oncoy movement. Inkarri is not an Andean god but rather a pale memory of the deified sovereign of ancient times, who after patient waiting will rise to life to vindicate the Andean world.

See Also

Atahuallpa; Inca Religion; Inti; Viracocha.


Araníbar, Carlos. "Los sacrificios humanos entre los Incas, a través de las crónicas de los siglos XVI y XVII." Ph. D. diss., University of Lima, 1961.

Arguedas, José María. "Puquio: Una cultura en proceso de cambio." Revista del Museo Nacional (Lima) 25 (1956): 184232.

Cane, Ralph. "Problemas arqueológicos e iconográficos: Enfoques nuevos." Boletín de Lima 37 (January 1985): 3844.

Carrion Cachot de Girard, Rebeca. La religión en el antiguo Perú. Lima, 1959.

Cordy-Collins, Alana. "Chavín Art: Its Shamanistic/Halluci-nogenic Origins." In Precolumbian Art History, edited by Alana Cordy-Collins and Jean Stearn, pp. 353362. Palo Alto, 1977.

Curatola, Marco. "Mito y milenarismo en los Andes: Del Taqui Oncoy a Incarrí: La vision de un pueblo invicto." Allpanchis Phuturinqa (Cuzco) 10 (1977): 6592.

Duviols, Pierre. "Los mombies quechua de Viracocha, supuesto 'dios creador' de los evangeligadores." Allpanchis Phuturinqa 10 (1977): 5363.

Favre, Henri. "Tayta Wamani: Le culte des montanes dans le centre sud des Andes péruviennes." In Colloque d'études péruviennes, pp. 121140. Aix-en-Provence, 1967.

Jijón y Caamaño, Jacínto. La religión del imperio de los Incas. Quito, 1919.

Jimenez Borja, Arturo. "Introducción al pensamiento araico peruano." Revista del Museo Nacional (Lima) 38 (1972): 191249.

Karsten, Rafael. "Die altperuanische Religion." Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 25 (1927): 3651.

Kauffmann Doig, Federico. El Perú arqueológico: Tratado breve sobre el Perú preincaico. Lima, 1976.

Kauffmann Doig, Federico. Sexual Behavior in Ancient Peru. Lima, 1979. Cited in the text as 1979a.

Kauffman Doig, Federico. "Sechín: Ensayo de arqueología iconográfica." Arqueológicas (Lima) 18 (1979): 101142. Cited in the text as 1979b.

Kauffmann Doig, Federico. Manual de arqueología peruana. 8th rev. ed. Lima, 1983.

Kauffman Doig, Federico. "Los dioses andinos: Hacia una caraterización de la religiosidad andina fundamentada en testimonios arqueológicos y en mitos," Vida y espiritualidad (Lima) 3 (1986): 116.

Mariscotti de Görlitz, Ana Maria. Pachamama Santa Tierra: Contribución al estudio de la religión autoctona en los Andes centro-meridionales. Berlin, 1978.

Métraux, Alfred. Religions et magies indiennes d'Amérique du Sud. Paris, 1967.

Millones, Luis. "Un movimiento nativista del siglo XVI: El Taki Onqoy." Revista peruana de cultura (Lima) 3 (1964).

Mishkin, Bernard. "The Contemporary Quechua." In Handbook of South American Indians (1946), edited by Julian H. Steward, vol. 2, pp. 411470. Reprint, Washington, D.C., 1963.

Ortiz Rescaniere, Alejandro. De Adaneva a Inkarrí. Lima, 1973.

Ossio, Juan M. "Guaman Poma: Nueva coronica o carta al rey: Un intento de approximación a las categorías del pensamiento del mundo andino." In Ideología mesianica del mundo andino, 2d ed., edited by Juan M. Ossio, pp. 153213. Lima, 1973.

Pease, Franklin. El dios creador andino. Lima, 1973.

Reinhard, Johan. "Chavín and Tiahuanaco: A New Look at Two Andean Ceremonial Centers." National Geographic Research 1 (1985): 395422.

Rostworowski de Diez Canseco, María. Estructuras andinas del poder: Ideología religiosa y política. Lima, 1983.

Rowe, John Howland. "The Origins of Creator Worship among the Incas." In Culture in History, edited by Stanley Diamond, pp. 408429. New York, 1969.

Tello, Julio C. "Wira-Kocha." Inca 1 (1923): 93320, 583606.

Trimborn, Hermann. "South Central America and the Andean Civilizations." In Pre-Columbian American Religions, edited by Walter Krickeberg et al., pp. 83146. New York, 1968.

Valcárcel, Luis E. "Símbolos mágico-religiosos en la cultura andina." Revista del Museo Nacional (Lima) 28 (1959): 318.

Wachtel, Nathan. The Vision of the Vanquished: The Spanish Conquest of Peru through Indian Eyes, 15301570. New York, 1977.

Yacovleff, Eugenio. "Las Falcónidas en el atre y en las creencias de los antiguos peruanos." Revista del Museo Nacional (Lima) 1 (1932): 35101.

New Sources

Burger, Richard L. Chavin and the Origins of Andean Civilization. London, 1992.

Guinea Bueno, Mercedes. Los Andes antes de los Incas. Madrid, 1991.

Isbell, William H., and Helaine Silverman. Andean Archaeology. New York, 2002.

Olsen Bruhns, Karen. Ancient South America. New York, 1994.

Stanish, Charles. Ancient Andean Political Economy. Austin, 1992.

Stone-Miller, Rebecca. Art of the Andes: From Chavin to Inca. London, 2002.

Von Hagen, Adriana, and Craig Morris. The Cities of the Ancient Andes. New York, 1998.

Federico Kauffmann Doig (1987)

Translated from Spanish by Mary Nickson
Revised Bibliography

About this article

South American Indians: Indians of the Andes in the Pre-Inca Period

Updated About content Print Article


South American Indians: Indians of the Andes in the Pre-Inca Period