Statue of a llama, circa 1400-1550


Brief IdentificationEdit

This statue of a llama was created during the period of Inca rule in Peru, between 1400 and him 1550. Made entirely out of gold and standing at a rough six centimeter eat piers in height, miniature statues such as these were found in Inca tombs. Used as a piece of offering to the Inca mountain god, resembled as the famous Llama in that time.

Technical EvaluationEdit

According to Bernabe Cobo, the Inca lacked forges, tongs, hammers, files, or many other tools used by today's metalworkers. The Inca used very limited tools for their metalwork, putting the charcoal on the ground and using flat stones as anvils and pieces of copper for hammers in different sizes. [See Cobo, 239] Using primitive techniques to create a miniature statue such as this would specialization of labor.

Local Historical ContextEdit

The Inca were heavily influenced by preceding Andean civilizations, such as the Chimu and Chavin [See Stierlin, 197]. Unlike Western art, the art of pre-Columbian South America seems to reject naturalism in favor of elongated and oddly proportioned body parts [Stierlin, 102], such as the ears or chest of this llama.Edit

World Historical SignificanceEdit

The majority of the Inca statues were taken during the conquest of Peru by Pizarro in the 16th century, and few remain intact. Due to the fact that the Inca had no written language and only used quipu as a method of mathematical calculation, the only written sources from the era come from the Spaniards. Pizarro and his men were much more interested in obtaining the gold for themselves rather than learning about its origins and means of production, as evidenced by the ransom of Atahualpa. Because of the nature of this conquest, the most important methods of learning about this statue and others like it are from archaeological excavations.


Stierlin Henri, Art of the Incas. Rizzo International Publications, 1984.

Cobo Bernabe, Inca Religion and Customs. University of Austin Texas, 1990.

Towle, George Makepeace. Pizarro: His Adventures and Conquests. Lee and Shepherd Publishers, Boston. 1879

D'Altroy, Terence. The Incas. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, Massachusetts. 2003.