Inca Art

The Inca civilization can be dated back to 1200 A.C. By 1442; they had built such a strong empire that the Inca Empire has been known as the greatest empire of pre-Columbian America. The Incas had an excellent administration system, which was based on the barter system of luxury goods and labor. Every citizen of the empire had to work to get food and clothing. There was no other form of payments. They hoarded up gold and silver and used them in building temples specifically for the Sun-god. They believed that gold was the sweat of the sun, and silver was the tears of the moon.

For the Incas, gold symbolized power, eternity and blessing of the Sun-god. The Incas or the rulers of the Inca Empire considered gold a sacred element of nature. It was used as a bribe or an offering or luxury gifts by the Incas. The Inca Empire grew beyond limits and bounds within a short span of time. They conquered other areas not by force, but by offering them better lives and fortune – like gold. This elaborates how they used gold to lure neighboring areas to join their confederacy.

Agriculture was the primary industry of the Incas. The ordinary people were required to pay tax by working for the Empire. Each person had to contribute his man-hours to develop the kingdom, as a result of which they developed a robust and well-connected network of roads throughout their empire. The people of Inca Empire were very artistic and creative. They were adept in the arts of sculpture. Even today, the artifacts made by the Incas hundred years back, displayed in various museums, inspire the imaginations of millions of people across the globe. Statuettes made of gold, replicas of maize and other plants carved in gold and many others represent the aesthetic sense of the Incas, and their fascination of precious metals like silver, bronze, copper and gold.

There were enormous gold houses and palaces of the dead kings who were heaped up with gold. The successors of the dead kings did not even touch the gold left by their predecessors but amassed more gold and silver for themselves. Historians believe that the passion of the Incas for gold and other precious metals were purely an aesthetical issue, but this seems to be only a half-truth. If it was only meant for aesthetics then why did they bury their gold treasures in a secret place where no one could find them? It was either their long termed investment or some form of religious belief that made them hide their accumulated wealth in the form of gold in such a way that even after centuries, people wonder about the whereabouts of that hidden gold treasure.

There were strict conditions on moving gold or silver from the Cuzco, the center of the Empire. The emperors lead a splendid life, with their ostentatious display of gold and silver which was never bought or sold in the kingdom; it was only used for ornamentation and sculpture. The glittering gold of the Incas caught the greed of the Spanish conquistadors who brought a fatal end to the empire. Ironically, they could not succeed in finding the gold, for which they invaded and ruined the Incas.

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