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The Incas were an artistic people who used materials available to them in nature and blended them creating many artistic forms in utilitarian ways. Inca art was practical; artifacts were used in everyday life. Inca art was inherited from cultures that predated the Inca Empire by thousands of years.
They took what they thought was important and useful from them and perfected it adapting forms of art to their own needs and likes. The Inca people were skillful craftsmen who worked in ayllus producing work for the empire. There were ayllus that specialized in certain type of art such as pottery making or weaving.
Overall, art was quite Spartan. The Inca preferred simple functionality over ornate decoration in all cases. Rather than create aesthetic paintings, the Inca preferred to sculpt religious figurines and create architectural wonders that inspire speculation and awe to this day.
It is commonly questioned as to how the Incas were able to develop such an exquisite architecture without the use of the wheel and modern tools. Their buildings have withstood five centuries in an earthquake prone zone and provided the foundations of many current buildings.
Ancient Andean weaving developed by pre-Inca civilizations and inherited and perfected by the Incas is considered as one of the greatest textile in the world and is compared to finest textile developed by the ancient Egyptians. Inca weavers wove beautiful textiles from alpaca, llama, and vicuņa wool and from cotton.
Metalworkers make ornaments, tools, and weapons out silver, copper, gold, and bronze. They excelled at working metals like silver, copper, and gold. Female statues are found with Inca offerings to the gods. Because llamas were very protected in the Andean region, lots of stylized llama figures were made by metalworkers.
Around Cuzco the capital of the Inca Empire the pottery created by the Inca civilization was of a superb standard in particular the quality of the glazing used in Inca pottery. The majority of Inca designs were similar to that of what had been created by previous generations often following a similar design with little variety, however, the technique used to create the pottery was much more advanced than that of its predecessors.
In the world of Inca art where plain and simple are the norm, the tapestries stood out as crown jewels. These tapestries where generally made from alpaca and were intricately woven by hand. Unlike the unadorned Inca architecture and sculpture, the tapestries were ornately created with geometric shapes and vibrant colors.
Most of the Inca art was melted down by the Spanish to satisfy their lust for gold and silver. Much about the Inca and their culture is surrounded in mystery and their art is no different. Still other examples of their art were destroyed simply because the idea of a polytheistic society was appalling to the Christian sensibilities of the Spaniards.