A Culture of Stone: Inka Perspectives on Rock


ISBN: 9780822348078
Dewey: 980.01
LCC Number: F3429.3.A65
Author: Carolyn Dean
Pages: 297
Age Group:

“By addressing both well-known and understudied objects| Carolyn Dean offers sophisticated new insights into Inka practices. Moreover| while advancing scholarship on the colonial Andes| she tackles issues relating to the interpretation of non-Western art and its reception| contributing to debates on material objects and the built environment in a wide range of fields.”–Dana Leibsohn| Smith College


A major contribution to both art history and Latin American studies| “A Culture of Stone” offers sophisticated new insights into Inka culture and the interpretation of non-Western art. Carolyn Dean focuses on rock outcrops masterfully integrated into Inka architecture| exquisitely worked masonry| and freestanding sacred rocks| explaining how certain stones took on lives of their own and played a vital role in the unfolding of Inka history. Examining the multiple uses of stone| she argues that the Inka understood building in stone as a way of ordering the chaos of unordered nature| converting untamed spaces into domesticated places| and laying claim to new territories. Dean contends that understanding what the rocks signified requires seeing them as the Inka saw them: as potentially animate| sentient| and sacred. Through careful analysis of Inka stonework| colonial-period accounts of the Inka| and contemporary ethnographic and folkloric studies of indigenous Andean culture| Dean reconstructs the relationships between stonework and other aspects of Inka life| including imperial expansion| worship| and agriculture. She also scrutinizes meanings imposed on Inka stone by the colonial Spanish and| later| by tourism and the tourist industry. “A Culture of Stone “is a compelling multidisciplinary argument for rethinking how we see and comprehend the Inka past.

Additional information

Weight 1.25 lbs
Dimensions 9.2 × 6 × 1 in
Binding Type


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