The Inca Empire has its origin and center in Cusco, from where it expanded to much of the South American territory, integrating the knowledge of the societies that conquered and developed an administrative, political, military, economic and ideological system that allowed it to grow in just little more than a century. Inca art objects are defined by the absence of secondary ornaments, abstraction and the sense of integration.
Tiny carved stone figurines, known as conopas, were-and still are-buried as propitiatory offerings and symbols of recognition and gratitude to Mother Earth. These Inca conopas represent alpacas, South American camelids whose wool is highly appreciated and has been used in the Andean highlands from very early times. Even today, similar conopas are buried in Andean fields, reflecting the symbolic and esthetic continuity of these offerings.
The keros were the cups used for toasts with chicha corn beer. Their shape sets them apart from any other type of vessel, and their use dates back to very early times. These wooden Inca keros have carved designs of chevrons and diamonds, as well as sculptorical applications of a feline and a lizard, animals both with strong symbolism of connection between the worlds. The Incas mastered large volume art of significant sculptorical plasticity.
Large quantities of chicha, the sacred and ceremonial liquid of the Andean world that was shared in every festivity or ceremony, required large vessels. These are known as aríbalos or urpus in Quechua. They were used to contain and carry chicha, an alcoholic beverage that brought its imbibers in connection with the non-sensitive world. The size and volume of these pieces refer us to an esthetic style of grandeur and order prevailing in the Andean view of the cosmos.