Military Review

The first metal of South America. "Kulturtregtery name of the Sun" (part 2)

Queen and mother Luna,
Give us your gift of water

And give us the love of your rain.
Hear the same as we call to you ...
(Miloslav Stingl. State of the Incas. Glory and death of the sons of the sun)

So, the Incas knew gold and silver, but they also knew how to alloy copper and tin and get bronze. And paradoxically, being able to work perfectly with metal, the Incas never liked mining. Neither in the past nor later. After all, this occupation distracted them from the earth, and even if they valued gold, the value of the earth in their eyes was incomparably higher. Although the mountains, where the mined metal ores, for the Indians were sacred, and when I started to work, whenever the Indians prayed to the gods that they have given to their hidden treasures in them.

The first metal of South America. "Kulturtregtery name of the Sun" (part 2)

As in Russia, in present-day South America, there are many people who sew yourself an old-cut suits, put on a copy of the ancient ornaments, and as such go and dance among the ruins. Someone entertains tourists so much, someone thinks that in this way preserves the culture of their ancestors. In any case, to look at them is very interesting. After all, outwardly with their features they are all the same as in the times of Francisco Pizarro!

The laws of the Incas concerning ore mining and miners' labor were simple and clearly defined, as, indeed, all the laws of the Inca Empire. Work in the mines was allowed only four months a year, and these were the warmest months. The workers were constantly changing; and no man could be sent to work in the mines without ... his woman. On the steep slopes of the Cordillera de Karabay Mountains (north of Lake Titicaca), where there was a humid climate, but there were large deposits of gold, special terraces were built for the needs of the miners to grow cereals. Here and today you can find the ruins of ancient villages, whose inhabitants were engaged in washing the gold-bearing sand. Another method was also used when dams were successively built across the riverbed, and after the last rains, stones containing grains of gold were collected in them. It is interesting that if in most other countries criminals worked in gold mines, then the Incans had a temporary duty, not a punishment. Gold was smelted in kilns stacked on mountain tops, and traditional charcoal was loaded into them as fuel. Hole for propulsion are generally oriented to the east, in the direction from which the wind blew more often, which created the craving enough to obtain a high temperature required for melting. However, if there was no wind, the Incas could use llama skin.

Gold jewelry of the Incas has come down to our days quite a bit, but they are. For example, this ornament can be seen in the Museum of America in Madrid.

And these golden beads are also from there. (Museum of America, Madrid).

The Incas owned all the techniques, known and other peoples and preserved today. This casting, forging, soldering, riveting and stamping. Jewelers in Cuzco were known for forced-blown stoves, and the craftsmen depicted on a fresco in an Egyptian tomb in Saqqara (around 2400 BC) acted in the same way; where jewelers in a similar way spend smelting to get the right temperature. The technology was relatively primitive, but it is so much Inca craftsmen smelted gold, cast the statue of the Inca rulers a full-length and the exact similarity of plants of gold for the Golden Garden in Cusco. And it is not surprising, because all the gold of the empire belonged precisely to the Supreme Inca! Moreover, since the Incas were an accurate account of all income through writing pile, it was found that in Cuzco annually delivered so 217 and 724,5 kg of gold, and no machinery they have not used. Well, they needed gold including the deification of their rulers, because after each from Great Inca after his death did the gold statue, and his palace was converted into a tomb decorated with gold again.

But this decoration is already from the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Silver, however, was also the property of the divine Inca. But if the gold of the Incas was associated with the brilliance of the Sun, then they considered silver to be the tears of the Moon. And although silver quickly dimmed due to the wet climate of the Andes, the Incas highly appreciated it and made many things of silver. The Incas were also known to be mercury, and they used it for gilding and silvering of bronze items. Also, Peruvian masters used various alloys with tin, but selected their recipes so that at first glance the products made of them look like gold. The heads of battle maws were cast, heavy bronze levers, knives and various surgical instruments, fastener pins, nose and ear decorations and tweezers were used to pluck hair. However, all this, as already noted, was used only by commoners, and the nobility used products made of gold and silver in large quantities.

Gold figure of a man 1400 -1533 Inca culture. (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

Gold figure of a woman 1400 -1533. Inca culture. (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

When the Great Inca Atahualpa, whom Francisco Pizarro kept in his capacity as a prisoner, ordered to deliver gold and silver to Cajamarca to ransom his person, he was filled with a room of 7,5 length and 4,5 m width. And the gold did not fit right up to the ceiling, but “to the height of the white line, to which a tall man could not reach.” This resulted in 1 326 539 pesos of pure gold and, in addition, 51 610 silver grades. With modern money, more than 500 million dollars could be obtained for this amount of precious metals. It is terrible that all this gold and silver in the form of products was melted into ingots, since there was a royal order that all gold and silver from Peru should be melted at the royal mints in Seville, Toledo and Segovia. ” Well, how many wonderful works of art perished in this we can only guess. But the Spaniards later recalled that they had seen in Cuzco many statues and idols made entirely of gold and silver, as well as women's figure as a man, hollow and fine work. Another conquistador wrote that he had a chance to see "many vessels of gold, lobsters that are found in the sea, and images of birds and snakes, even spiders, lizards and some beetles ..." were carved on other golden vessels. As for the royal secretary, who counted the gold trophies mined by the conquistadors, seeing how tall they were all stacked, he wrote: “Truly worth seeing ... vessels, vases and dishes of various shapes, which served food to the Inca rulers ... There were four lamas of pure gold and a very large ten or twelve female statues in full size, all made of pure gold, and a beauty and excellent work that they seemed to live ... "

But with the products of textiles, scientists are lucky. Therefore, in the Metropolitan Museum in New York there are many different clothes, carpets and fabrics of Inca work. In particular, this original tunic sleeveless jacket with two cats!

Inca tunic with geometric patterns 1460 – 1540 (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

Interestingly, the Incas carried out their conquests in the territory of ancient Peru not for the sake of conquest as such, but with the aim of spreading advanced technologies. Anyway, according to ancient legend, "The Sun God Inca commanded to go to the people and to bear craft and civilization of all the Indians who were living in the wilderness." Ie Myths reflect the desire of the Incas primarily to educate all the other Indian tribes, the Incas themselves consider themselves elected for this purpose by God. And obviously, something allowed them to think so. Although it is known that in the Andes for two millennia, beginning from the X century BC, such developed civilizations already existed, such as Chavin, Paracas, Nazca, Moche, Tiahuanaco and others, that is, much has been created before them. But it turned out that in the XII century a people appeared on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the so-called Great Inca became the supreme ruler. And this people moved to the new capital, the city of Cusco, and began to spread its power over vast territories.

Tunic of feathers. (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

True, the exact appearance of the Incas on historical arena. Although we know that at first they were a small tribe in numbers, and it moved north in search of fertile lands, until it found itself in the Cuzco Valley. Here they managed to defeat the original owners of the land there, after which they began to gradually subordinate the neighboring tribes to their power. They were lucky in that at this time the entire territory of the Andes was inhabited by various tribes who spoke different languages, with their own mythology, religion, culture. Moreover, just the level of culture they all had about the same, so integrating into a new society under the Inca’s rule was not difficult for them. For all tribes, the basis of society was the land community that owned the land together. Another thing is that it was the Incas who were inherent in some kind of sharpened sense of organization. And they began to expand their holdings by conquest.

"Carpet with stars." (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

Patterned handbag. (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

Already at the end of the XIV century, they created a strong and numerous regular army. And conquering the neighboring tribes, the Incas acted not only by force, but also tried to attract their elite to their side. Interestingly, before the start military action, they offered three rulers of the opposing parties voluntarily submit to their authority, and to be a part of their empire, and only in the case of final rejection brought into play weapon. After the victory, the conquered tribes were forced to learn the language of the Incas, and implanted among them their customs and laws. But the local nobility and the priesthood was given the opportunity to maintain their privileged position, and the local religion is not prohibited, although from the losers and required mandatory worship of the Sun god. The Incas well understood the importance of preserving local customs, folk crafts and clothing, and not only did not attempt them, but also created the conditions for the development of local culture.

The dishes of the Incas was similar to the dishes of the urine, but still only similar. Bottle in the form of stirrup. Culture of the Nazca. (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

Vessel with a geometrical ornament. (Metropolitan Museum, New York)

As an example of such cultural integration, one can cite the Indians of the Chonos culture (in present-day Ecuador), who in the 15th-16th centuries smelted copper of very high purity (copper content 99,5%), cast miniature 2 cm axes from it along the sides and 0,5 cm thick and used them as money. However, this "coin" was in circulation along the entire western coast of South America, including the state of the Incas.

To be continued ...
Articles from this series:
The first metal of South America (part of 1)

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  1. Comrade
    Comrade 20 November 2018 06: 14
    217 t and 724,5 kg of gold were delivered to Cuzco every year, and they did not use any machines and mechanisms.

    Well done Inca, their gold miners look good today. Looks like the rich deposits were there.
    As you know, gold production in Russia is stably kept at about 300 tons per year, including:
    - mined from 230-240 tons of fields,
    - along the way extracted from non-ferrous metal ores about 20 tons,
    - from recycled materials - 40 tons.

    Thank you for the article, informative, read with pleasure.
  2. 3x3zsave
    3x3zsave 20 November 2018 06: 39
    "... in modern South America ..."
    In modern Russia, this is also present, in particular in St. Petersburg. In the warmer months, several representatives of the Latin American peoples put on ponchos and feather hats, pick up musical instruments and play compositions by Sergio Leone near metro stations for a fistful of dollars. Here is a "wow".
  3. tlauicol
    tlauicol 20 November 2018 06: 48
    It turns out that Pizarro asked not so much for the ransom of Atahualpa. Caesar would have doubled, and this one pinched laughing
  4. Adjutant
    Adjutant 20 November 2018 07: 01
    Yes, beauty is impressive.
    Indians, and in a number of positions surpassed the European pros.
    That would be one such figure in the collection ...
    Thanks to the author!
    1. kalibr
      20 November 2018 07: 30
      Glad you like it! As for the figurine in the collection, there are two options. First: you apply to me, I to I. Zeynalov and together we make an exact copy for you. Your gold, and it seems, 5% will go to waste. Second: you go to Lima, walk around ... suburban areas ... say ... "buy antique" and they sell you. Either a craft or not ... how lucky. Then seal it into a wood alloy box (opaque for X-ray) with patterns and the inscription MADE IN CHAINA. And ... take it back and then how lucky you are with customs ...
      1. Adjutant
        Adjutant 20 November 2018 08: 20
        Liked good .
        As for the figurine, it is rather a sigh)) Expensive, obviously. And not afford and not for sure. The head of another is clogged. Thanks for the offer hi
      2. Curious
        Curious 20 November 2018 12: 44
        "Second: You go to Lima, walk around ... suburban areas ... say ..." buy antique "and ..."
        Here's a tip that you definitely don’t have to follow if you are not specifically looking for adventures on your ass. Moreover, the most diverse adventures.
        Firstly, Peru has one of the highest crime rates, especially street crime. And gringo wandering in the outlying districts, and even with money - is legitimate prey.
        Secondly, gold is mined in Peru today, in the same place where the Incas mined it. In Madre de Dios, 60 thousand gold miners mine up to 20 tons of gold per year. Moreover, 15 percent is obtained illegally and the income from this is twice as much as the income from the drug trade. Naturally, the state does not like this, it is fighting against it. Therefore, if you are caught with a golden "double bass" at the customs, you will scoop up local exoticism to the fullest.
        In general, in such countries with souvenirs one must be careful. There, a Muscovite brought a bottle of shamanic medicine from Peru to treat his back and received 11 years in prison. Vigilant Moscow customs officials tested the medicine ... and it turned out to be on dimethyltryptamine (a hallucinogen like LSD).
        1. kalibr
          20 November 2018 13: 37
          Can’t you make a joke? Therefore, he wrote that ... is this the way it is ?!
          1. Curious
            Curious 20 November 2018 14: 26
            No, this is not a joke with our people.
            1. kalibr
              20 November 2018 16: 11
              Well, everyone has different possibilities. Look, recently Zeynalov what figure was ordered, although
              from silver ...
              1. 3x3zsave
                3x3zsave 20 November 2018 21: 23
                What can I say? Zeynalov found his niche. I like this direction in art and I would like to congratulate the artist on the success.
                Meanwhile, dear, can anyone imagine impressionism in a monochrom? But it happens! Every day I see this work. And would buy, but now, for me, expensive.
                1. Curious
                  Curious 20 November 2018 22: 13
                  "Meanwhile, dear ones, can anyone present impressionism in monochrome?"
                  We can. Metaphysical impressionism.

                  David A.A. Danube evening. 1995 year
            2. 3x3zsave
              3x3zsave 20 November 2018 21: 51
              I agree, with such jokes Vyacheslav Olegovich directly claims to be the role of Indiana Jones, well, or Pablo Escobaro.
      3. Tutejszy
        Tutejszy 20 November 2018 14: 48
        Quote: kalibr
        Or crafts or not ... how lucky.

        where to buy - and how much. As that cowboy said: "Then one of the lessons said that the diamond in my ring is fake! How can it be if I gave THREE BACKS for it!"
        1. Curious
          Curious 20 November 2018 16: 10
          "where to buy - and how much"
          Who cares where to buy. Gypsy gold is the same everywhere. The main change is not to take in dollars, Peru in the first place for the manufacture of counterfeit dollars.
          1. Tutejszy
            Tutejszy 20 November 2018 17: 39
            Quote: Curious
            Gypsy gold is the same everywhere.

            Do not tell me ... I can bring you at least fifty different recipes! laughing It's just that everywhere the main component is copper!
  5. XII Legion
    XII Legion 20 November 2018 08: 24
    Amazing civilization.
    And from the point of view of material, and from the point of view of spiritual culture.
    And masterful.
    Thank you!
  6. Mikhail Matyugin
    Mikhail Matyugin 20 November 2018 12: 58
    Quote: Vyacheslav Shpakovsky
    Tunic of feathers. (Metropolitan Museum, New York)
    The author did not pay attention to her at all, but in vain (maybe on purpose?). A wildly expensive thing and extremely rare even then, and especially now (I did not even know that the originals of the era were preserved, it was a truly royal gift). To compare this product with the price of tunics made of textiles is simply not possible, we can say that then it was the price of several houses. It’s all because of the feathers that made up the rectangle in the center and the border below (this bird was not enough even in the era of the Inca empire).
    1. kalibr
      20 November 2018 16: 05
      While he was a teacher in the village, he made wall panels there from duck feathers (from winged ones with "eyes"), it was beautiful to madness!
  7. Tutejszy
    Tutejszy 20 November 2018 14: 19
    It is interesting that if in most other countries criminals worked in gold mines, then the Incas had a temporary duty, not punishment.

    Vyacheslav Olegovich, the criminals worked in the mines, because it’s hard, harmful and dangerous, but to wash a coin in a tray - it has always been work for free people! By the way, about the duties — there is something rich here: in Sweden, one of the peasants' duties was the extraction of swamp ore and the smelting of iron from it (and the season was very short - from the end of the harvest to the cold weather: you will not dig ore in a frozen swamp!)
  8. Tutejszy
    Tutejszy 20 November 2018 14: 35
    However, if there was no wind, the Incas could use bellows made of llama skin.

    Could or used? According to the info from the Indian Institute of Science (, “The Incas attached great importance to the human breath and put vitality into it. During smelting, they believed that it was this vital force that turned ore into metallic copper... They didn't believe that artificial means like furs would have the same effect. Thus, they did not cross the melting path of other cultures and see the discovery of iron. "
    In any case, regarding:
    The jewelers in Cuzco knew the forced-blast furnaces, and the craftsmen depicted in the fresco in the Egyptian tomb in Saqqara (around 2400 BC) acted in exactly the same way; where jewelers similarly conduct smelting to obtain the desired temperature.

    Vyacheslav Olegovich, I correctly believe that the speech is about a fresco from the tomb of Mereruk, who served as a chat with the pharaoh Aunt (2322 - 2312 BC)? So there they are precisely blowing fire through their mouth through special tubes. By the way, Australian scientists smelted as much as 70 g of copper in this way, although instead of blowing with their mouths, in their bourgeois laziness, they used a blower of comparable power (
    1. kalibr
      20 November 2018 16: 03
  9. Tutejszy
    Tutejszy 20 November 2018 14: 44
    Another thing is that it was the Incas who were inherent in some kind of sharpened sense of organization.
    I once wrote a term paper on the history of the state. State through the presence of a regular army repeatedly militarily surpasses a chiefdom comparable in population - and if in a territory where there are many chiefdoms, one of them transforms into a state, then there are two options: either the other chiefdoms in the face of threats also transform into states, or if they do not have time, it is a state Will crush them all! In Sumer, the first option took place, in Egypt and LA - the second.
  10. faterdom
    faterdom 20 November 2018 22: 22
    Workers were constantly changing; moreover, no man could be sent to work in the mines without ... his woman

    That is what the scientific organization of labor means! At work, think about work, and not that in the evening for women, but in the morning - no!