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Scale and the Incas

by Andrew James Hamilton Princeton University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 304 pages
AU$118.00 NZ$120.87
Product Status: In Stock Now
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A groundbreaking work on how the topic of scale provides an entirely new understanding of Inca material culture   


Although questions of form and style are fundamental to art history, the issue of scale has been surprisingly neglected. Yet, scale and scaled relationships are essential to the visual cultures of many societies from around the world, especially in the Andes. In Scale and the Incas, Andrew Hamilton presents a groundbreaking theoretical framework for analyzing scale, and then applies this approach to Inca art, architecture, and belief systems.   


The Incas were one of humanity's great civilizations, but their lack of a written language has prevented widespread appreciation of their sophisticated intellectual tradition. Expansive in scope, this book examines many famous works of Inca art including Machu Picchu and the Dumbarton Oaks tunic, more enigmatic artifacts like the Sayhuite Stone and Capacocha offerings, and a range of relatively unknown objects in diverse media including fiber, wood, feathers, stone, and metalwork. Ultimately, Hamilton demonstrates how the Incas used scale as an effective mode of expression in their vast multilingual and multiethnic empire.  


Lavishly illustrated with stunning color plates created by the author, the book's pages depict artifacts alongside scale markers and silhouettes of hands and bodies, allowing readers to gauge scale in multiple ways. The pioneering visual and theoretical arguments of Scale andthe Incas not only rewrite understandings of Inca art, but also provide a benchmark for future studies of scale in art from other cultures.

"This landmark study reveals a critical and previously unaddressed aspect of ancient Andean art. For readers in the field, this is a definitively important work, full of innovative ways of looking at and thinking about Inca art. For those interested in the theoretical aspects of scale, the book will delight with newfound understandings."--Joanne Pillsbury, Metropolitan Museum of Art

"This highly original book explores the role of scale in Inca material culture, the built environment, and worldviews more generally. Filled with extraordinary and beautiful illustrations, this is a book about really small things and very, very big ideas."--Carolyn Dean, author of A Culture of Stone
Andrew James Hamilton is a lecturer in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.