In recent years, interest in the Inca civilization (1250-1532) has been revived by the spectacular discoveries of the mummies of children sacrificed on the Andean peaks. For the Incas, human sacrifices were not a daily occurrence (as they were with the Aztecs, for example) but were carried out at specific times of the year. They played a crucial role in the Incas’ cosmology a bridge between the human world and that of the gods and ancestors. Human sacrifice allowed humans to enter into contact with the other world, to rejoin the world of their forebears. In addition to religious reasons, sacrifices also had social and political motivations. Human sacrifice was ordered by the central political authority, and thus confirmed the rulers’ power.

Incorporating the very latest discoveries, this book offers a comprehensive study of Incan cosmology rituals and attempts to unravel the meaning of child sacrifice among the Andean peoples. The study is richly illustrated with previously unpublished images of the fascinating rituals of the rich Incan civilization.

Edward K. de Bock is an art historian specialising in Precolumbian art. He earned his PhD with a thesis on the iconography of Peru’s Moche culture (100700 CE), and he has overseen a number of catalogues and exhibitions. He is currently researching the Nasca culture in southern Peru. De Bock is the Science Coordinator at the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam, and curator of the Americas Department.

Accompanies the exhibition of the same name at the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam (1 July 15 November 2010).