MS 718
MS Short Title QUIPUS
Description Quipu in Incan, Coastal Peru, ca. 1400 - 1532 AD. or earlier, 14 brown+14 white+26 brown woollen cords, (ca. 2-2,5 mm thick), covering 40x16 cm, suspended in a woollen cord 85 cm long, 4 mm thick, all cords have 2 large knots at different positions, surmounted by up to 3 small knots in upper part.
Provenance 1. Harmer Rooke Galleries, New York, Auction XXXVIII, 8.11.1990:471; 2. Bruce Ferrini, Akron, Ohio.

Quipus were the only form of Incan "writing". Two thirds of the surviving about 800 quipus of the Incan period were used as a method for stocktaking, recording a transaction, or for accounting. One third were without any numbers like the present quipu, and were of narrative, biographical or historical type.

Until 2005 the earliest find of quipus was dated to 650 AD. During the excavations in 2006 of Peru’s oldest city, Cara, archaeologists at the San Marco University in Lima found quipus that can be dated to ca. 3000 BC. So far Sumer and Egypt have been regarded as the earliest locations for the emergence of writing, ca. 3200 BC. With this find, Western South America has also to be considered (see also MS 2961), together with Europe (see MS 5237/2) and MS 5238 .

Place of origin Peru
Dates 1400 - 1532 AD