'Remembering the Inkas' showcase,

Story of Waskar Inka and the dance of the wasq'a or golden chain. Oil canvas. Virreinal, Perú, Siglo XVIII-XIX. Colección Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares, Instituto Riva Agüero-PUC,Lima, Perú (720 x 1120 mm).

Dance of the Wasq'a or golden chain of Waskar Inka. Quero-cup, wood. Colonial, Andes Centrales del Perú, Siglos XVI-XVII. Colección Salinas de la Piedra Humeres, PE-SAL 02 (190 x 160 mm).

Illustration of the quero-cup, PE-SAL 02.

Dance of the Purucaya or memorial funerary rite with Inka dancers. Bottle, ceramic. Imperio Inka (Sillustani), Altiplano Central del Perú, 1400-1532 d.C. Colección Museo Arqueológico San Miguel de Azapa, Universidad de Tarapacá (175 x 110 mm).

Theatrical performance of the death of Waskar Inka and the Dance of the Rope. San Pedro de Tongos, Huaura, Peru. Fotograma de video.

Theatrical performance of Atawallpa and Waskar Inka. Fotograma de video, San Pedro de Tongos, Huaura, Perú.

Remembering the Inkas

In Tawantinsuyu, dance and music were all used to tell stories about the rulers. One of these stories is told on the painted and wooden cup shown here. It tells of when the ruler Waina Capac had an enormous, beautiful golden chain made to commemorate the birth of his son, Waskar, who would become one of the last rulers of Tawantinsuyu.

As dance and music are forms of communication that do not require spoken language to comprehend, their message could be understood by people who spoke many different languages.

The History of the Inka was transmitted through objects, songs and dances. Cups and textiles were given as gifts when Inka authorities entered into alliances with other nations and groups and incorporated them into Tawantinsuyu, the Inka State. Before the gift giving, the guests ate and drank together, and in major ceremonies and rituals those present also told stories, danced, and sang the history of the Cuzco rulers and the expansion of its empire, so the conquered societies would learn about it. Even today, stories are danced and sung about such historic events as the Spanish arrival and the death of the Inka Atawallpa.