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date: 14 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses different ways of engaging with the Inca as an ancient past and their material culture as “antiquities” over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It holds that Inca “antiquities” had assumed principally three distinct functions by the early nineteenth century, which they were to retain into the recent era: primarily, that of “epistemic things,” objects of intellectual curiosity to antiquaries and archaeologists in Europe and across the Americas; second, that of political, predominantly “national,” symbols, available for the wider imagined collectivities of, initially at least, several South American republics; and third, that of commodities, as collectibles and museum exhibits traded on an ever-expanding trans-Atlantic antiquities market.

Keywords: Inca, antiquities, museum, collection, archaeology, antiquarianism, nationalism

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