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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Quipu; knotted cotton or wool(?)

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1430-1530 (?)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 71 centimetres
    • Width: 104 centimetres
  • Bibliography

    • McEwan 2009 pp. 70-71 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    2012 Mar-Jul, Abu Dhabi, Manarat al Saadiyat, Treasures of the World's Cultures
            2012-2013 30 Nov-7 Apr, Bonn, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Treasures of the World's Cultures

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    9 December 2012

    Treatment proposal

    Remove from current mount. Recover board with natural beige fabric. Attach textile by stitching.


    The object appears to be in good condition. Its fibres are soft and flexible, and all knots and ends are secure. There are traces of colour, blue and red, in some of the strings but these are very faint. The Quipu was mounted on a Hexlite board padded with polyester wadding and covered in a cotton fabric dyed in a bright blue shade that does not suit the object, as it is very overpowering.

    Treatment details

    As the Quipu was required for a loan a solution that kept it safe during travel and also could be used for display, minimising handling, was required. It was felt that a similar system to the existing one, using a padded board, would be the best choice, although a new background colour was necessary. A custom colour, that was neutral and at the same time had the right undertones to help bring out the colours on the Quipu, was chosen and a cotton calico fabric was dyed in it using Solophenyl dyes (azo dye). The same board (Aerolam F board (glass fibre,epoxy laminate on aluminiun honeycombe)) was re-padded with polyester wadding, then covered in cotton domette, that was stretched and secured from the back using Vinamul 3252 (vinyl acetate,ethylene copolymer). The domette enclosed board was then covered with the newly dyed fabric, which was also stretched, always making sure that its weave and weft were aligned with the sides of the board. The fabric was as well secured on the back with Vinamul 3252, and then to make sure that it wouldn’t move, even if the adhesive failed, a back panel of cotton calico was stitched onto it in tension. The quipu was removed from the old support, by cutting the stitches holding the two together, and slid onto a sheet of BondinaH3228 (non woven polyester) that was then used to place the quipu on the new board.The Quipu was then stitched onto the board using silk filament thread, dyed in an approximate colour using Lanaset dyes (metal complex dye), that was found to be both unnoticeable to the naked eye and strong enough to support the object.

    About these records 

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: ESA8657

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