Shaping precolonial concepts in the andes: The ushnu for llocllayhuancupa (huarochirí, lima)

Gabriel Ramón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In precolonial Andean archaeology, specialists frequently deal with objects whose names and functions are unknown. Similarly, early colonial documents from the Andes often mention objects without describing their shapes or functions. How can we articulate these three features-names, shapes, and functions-for objects from precolonial and colonial periods? How can we define these objects while taking into account intra-Andean variability? This article addresses these questions using one section from a well-known document of the early seventeenth century, the Huarochirí Manuscript. This section includes a term extensively discussed in Andean archaeology: husno or ushnu, which has been translated and described in various ways by diverse scholars. Through analysis of the function, form, and translation of the Quechua term ushnu, I explore a typological approach to articulate names, shapes, and functions and also propose a redefinition of the concept itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-307
Number of pages20
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


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