Incan King of Peru

Location: Cuzco


The book from which this engraving is pulled is Relation du voyage de la Mer du Sud aux cátes du Chily et Perou. This image, one of the many depicting people in this work, is quite detailed and shows a great deal of interest in studying the culture and way of life of the Incan people. Each figure and item in the image is assigned a letter and each letter corresponds to a description underneath the image itself on the page. Letters A and B are the Incan King and Queen (or Coia) of Peru as, it tells us, they have been drawn from another image drawn by Indians in Cuzco. The king is depicted with some magnificent headgear and a lush ornamented robe and over-garment worn on top of a pair of flared britches. He wears some complex sandals that would be made of leather straps. His wife wears an elaborate dress, over-robe, and head dressing, and is attended by a servant carrying a parasol over her head. A large pin with a floral decoration secures her robe in the center of her chest.

The remaining two figures in the image are labeled C and D. They are described as male and female Indians of Peru and are both barefoot, unlike the king. The male figure, letter C, wears a long-sleeved shirt under a long billowy cape-like shirt and britches that come to just above the knee. He wears his hair long and plain but covers his head with a small floppy hat. The female figure, letter D, is described as wearing the mantilla. This garment, held together like the garment of the queen by a large pin, shows us the influence of Spanish dress on the native peoples.

The remainder of the letters designates the items strewn about in the foreground of the image. These items give us a clue as to the intention of the illustrator. It appears to be very anthropological in nature, as if the items and the people were selected as a representative sample and recorded in a way very similar to natural scientific illustrations of the time.

Book Title: Relation du Voyage de la Mer du Sud aux côtes du Chily et du Perou : fait pendant les années 1712,

Plate Number: Page 247

Call Number: F2221 .F86 1716