South America Did Have a Form of Pictographic writing

cachibatches

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,351
I have heard it commonly said that the Inca and their predecessors had not even pictographic writing. It has been argued by some that the quipu could represent phonetic concepts to the degree that it in and of itself should count as a form of "writing," but that caveat aside, I have never seen a history book that ascribes to the Peruvians anything like pictographic of proto writing.

Then, today, I was watching a debunking of "Ancient Aliens" regarding Puma Punka. A clip was played in which that guy with the crazy hair asserted that it was well known that the Aymara Indians who built Puma Punka has no writing in order to make plans. To my surprise, the debunking moderator disagreed, stating that whiles they had no true writing, it is a fact that they had standardized symbols that represented concepts or similar sounding words. It is indeed a fact, and I was able to verify it rather easily.

This is huge for me. I am not Peruvian myself, but my girlfriend is (her mother speaks Quechua).

It is strange to me that even in this day and age of instant access to information, there can still be these widespread misconceptions about history.
 

Tairusiano

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,975
Brazil
There are symbols and iconograph all over south america
from Moche Iconograph in the pacific region to the Marajoara iconograph in Amazonian atlantic coast
some of this iconograph looks to have some meaning ideas or concepts
is dificult to say that they form a proto writing system but they clearly show a concept of com
but this is an area of South American archeology rarely studied

here some article that talk about iconograph
http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/moche/moche-burial.pdf

http://people.umass.edu/proulx/online_pubs/Nasca_Iconography.pdf

http://people.umass.edu/proulx/online_pubs/Nasca_Ceramic_Iconography_Overview.pdf

http://www.precolumbia.com/bearc/CAAS/AA12.pdf

http://www.naya.org.ar/articulos/marajoi.htm
 
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Edgewaters

Ad Honorem
Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
They had icons but I think the quipu should not be dismissed. We don't know that much about it, other than the fact they could use it to count very large numbers. A symbol works just as well in 3-D as it does in 2-D and whether the medium is lines made in ink, or lines made in string. It's not really certain how much could be communicated using quipu but its potential is not nearly so limited as it might seem at first.
 

cachibatches

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,351
There are symbols and iconograph all over south america
from Moche Iconograph in the pacific region to the Marajoara iconograph in Amazonian atlantic coast
some of this iconograph looks to have some meaning ideas or concepts
is dificult to say that they form a proto writing system but they clearly show a concept of com
but this is an area of South American archeology rarely studied

here some article that talk about iconograph
http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/moche/moche-burial.pdf

http://people.umass.edu/proulx/online_pubs/Nasca_Iconography.pdf

http://people.umass.edu/proulx/online_pubs/Nasca_Ceramic_Iconography_Overview.pdf

http://www.precolumbia.com/bearc/CAAS/AA12.pdf

Marajoara Iconography: a Structural Approach
Thanks a million! I have to had out in a few, but I am definitely going to take a good look at this later.

It is a great day when you really feel that you are learning something.
 

cachibatches

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,351
They had icons but I think the quipu should not be dismissed. We don't know that much about it, other than the fact they could use it to count very large numbers. A symbol works just as well in 3-D as it does in 2-D and whether the medium is lines made in ink, or lines made in string. It's not really certain how much could be communicated using quipu but its potential is not nearly so limited as it might seem at first.
I don't dismiss it at all. I am fascinated by their unique use.
 

cachibatches

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,351
There were several types of notation systems in the prehispanic Central Andes. As much as fascinating as quipu (khipu) is a symbol system called tocapu. Have a look on the following online database:

tocapu.org

For studying khipu the following websites are interesting:

http://quipu.sdsu.edu/index.shtml

Tocapu and khipu are still in use, even after the alphabet was introduced:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~tcrnmrf/khipu.htm
That is very interesting. Thanks for the update. I will look further into this.
 
Sep 2013
16
Germany
They are amazing. There are quite a lot of publications on tocapu:

https://www.academia.edu/1222406/A_Key_Checkerboard_Pattern_Tunic_of_the_Linden_Museum_Stuttgart_First_Steps_in_Breaking_the_Tocapu_Code_Neue_Erkenntnisse_zum_Tocapu-Symbolsystem_am_Beispiel_eines_Mannerhemdes_der_Inkazeit_in_der_Altamerika-Sammlung_des_Linden-Museums

Arellano, C. (2002). The Quipu and Tocapu. Systems of Inca communication. In: Lima: Franklin Pease et al.: The Incas. Art and Symbols. Colección Arte y Tesoros del Perú. Banco de Crédito del Perú, 215-261.

Clados, C. (2010). Middle Horizon Tocapus arranged in Disconnected Rows: Headdress M 32205 of the Linden-Museum. Tribus 59, 165-177.

Cummins, T. (2002). Toast with the Inca. Andean Abstraction and Colonial Images. The University of Michigan Press.

ISSUU - Individuata una moltiplicazione nella Yupana di Guaman Poma by Francesco Forte

And there is more. See tocapu.org - Literature