Welcome to The Khipu Field Guide - Travel back in time with me to the 16th Century and the Inkan empire. Explore how the Inkas used cloth to communicate and record commitments.
This site has four sections.
If you're not a khipu scholar, the Introduction is a good place to start. You'll learn how khipus are constructed, what this site is about, and whether or not modern scholars can decipher Inkan khipus.
From the NoteBook you can access exploratory information about khipus - their construction, how they vary, and how they can be analyzed.
Various types of analysis can be done on khipus to categorize them into types - accounting vs possibly narrative. Calendar vs census, etc. Analyzing khipus often involves a micro level analysis first (shown later), so this is a circular process. Start high-level, work down, project up, etc.
Most of the detailed khipu analysis is done at the cord and cord cluster level. In this section "fieldmarks" such as cord twist, knot direction, etc., are common or significant.
In 2015, Sabine Hyland visited the village of Collata, where she was invited to study 17th to 18th century khipus that had been secretly held for centuries. She discovered, in the knot plys and immense color range, that these khipus had a phonetic basis. Could cord color be the key to unlocking khipu language?
An attempt at understanding color usage starts here: Cord Color Analysis
If you are interested in the technical details of this project, then the CodeBook is the place to browse.