The Quechua term for King is Inka–a title used by the rulers of the
day who were worshipped as gods–and it is from this word that the
Incan civilization derived it’s name. Of course … that doesn’t
explain Jimmy Durante and his Inka Dinka Dink shtick … but there
are mysteries too arcane for the likes of mere man to understand.
The most amazing thing about this empire–apart from their
spectacular golden artifacts–is that this most influential culture
was toppled by a chap named Pizarro backed by a piddling 180 men.
Well … they didn’t have guns and Pizarrod did …
The Incans did not have written numbers and so they devised a
counting method based on knotted cords called quipus … a system
which is still used today by Peruvian peasants. For those of you
intending to travel to Peru one day … may I suggest you bring along
a bit of hemp … in case you should get lost and need to get a
donkey ride home. A few extra knots … and you might be able to get
a ham on rye and a coke to go too.
Ah … but their golden masks … that is where their artistry
reigned supreme. If you were a king–Inka–you were worshipped in
death as you were in life. Your mummified body with its ornate death
mask would be carried about through the main square of the capital
for all to see. This was a daily occurrence which I would have to
suppose kept the jewelers of the day busy as little bee-Incans
hammering gold plate into fashionable false-faces with which to
present oneself to the Grim Reaper.
I have an image of one of these little doo-dads … a funerary mask
of the first caliber … hammered and painted gold and with two
needles jutting out of the eyes … the purpose of which eludes me
for the moment … unless this was supposed to represent the body’s
owner as having had a “piercing gaze” in life … yuk yuk. Forgive
me for I know not what I pun.
Still … it’s a rather striking piece–I do love primitive art–and
I urge you to take a peek. However … I caution you … do not lean
in too close.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits Graphics … and then click on the link that says: Mask …
in order to view a golden death mask of great beauty.