Chinchas (ethnic group)

The Chincha culture was a civilization of Ancient Peru , belonging to the Late Intermediate period. It spread through the valleys of Chincha , Pisco , Ica and Nazca, although its political center was in the valley of Chincha. It was conquered by the Incas during the reign of Pachacútec Inca Yupanqui and definitively annexed to the empire during the government of Túpac Inca Yupanqui, around the year 1476 .


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  • 1 History
  • 2 Geographical location
  • 3 Population divided by economic activities
  • 4 Ceramic
  • 5 Metallurgy
  • 6 Architecture
  • 7 Textile
  • 8 Wood carving
  • 9 Chincha woodcut
  • 10 See Also
  • 11 Bibliography
  • 12 Sources


Chincha was a manor that maintained its importance even during Inca times . Moreover, it is even said that the only lord who could be carried after the same ceremony as the Inca sapa was the lord of Chincha. The population was divided between:

  • The nobility: in charge of administrative positions.
  • The priests
  • The town: made up of merchants, artisans, fishermen and peasants.

Its monarch was the Chinchay Cápac . This culture established its capital between Pozuelo and Sunape (thirty thousand inhabitants), its highest divinity being the solemn Chinchaycámac . The Huaca de la Centine and the Huaca de Tambo de Mora , the Lurín Chincha pyramid and the Ungará fortress are still standing from this time . On the other hand, were the chinchas farmers, warriors, merchants, potters, weavers and fishermen.

Geographic location


Geographic location of the chinchas.

This culture flourished between 900 to 1450 n. and. , and was developed in the valleys of Cañete , Chincha , Pisco , Ica and Nazca . They probably constituted a militaristic regional state inferior to the Chimú culture , which entered the Andean region and when the process of the Inca conquests took place, although they put up tenacious resistance, they were conquered and annexed to the Inca Empire .

Population divided by economic activities

  • 20% trade, 33% fishing, 40% farmers and 7% artisans
  • It developed fishing and trade (it had an international character).
  • He established a commercial triangle between the southern Andean highlands, the coast of Ecuador and the Chinchana region ( Ica ).
  • They obtained from the highlands (copper, wool, jerky ), from Ecuador ( beads , gold and emeralds and the mullu [giant snail] for religious purposes).
  • The merchants of the Chincha kingdom supplied mullu to the south.



Chincha ceramic

Chincha ceramics have a very characteristic style, although influences from the Middle Horizon and the Ica tradition are noted. The pieces are very well made, elaborate and decorated. The shapes are jugs with a neck and with handles on the top, shapes of bottles, barrels, cups, plates with vertical walls and figurines. They produced short-necked and long-necked globular pitchers. They all were given a small and crowded decoration, real frets made with a brush, as well as human, animal and vegetable figures. Among the latter, those of fish, birds and dogs stand out. Form and decoration is the best of this ceramic.

In general it follows a uniform pattern, in which the variations are important only insofar as they are an index of a certain independence between the valleys in the cultural sphere or at least in the manufacture of ceramics. The common scheme is the base of a polychrome style in which the colors red, for the base, and black and white are the most common; the decorative motifs follow a geometric norm with a predominance of designs deformed by a textile treatment, with a regime that modifies the curved or oblique profiles with stepped lines; Conventional hoisted representations of birds and fish that have bases lose their bottom within perimeters that are combinations of angles are frequent.

The forms frequent the jars with a wide neck and projecting neck with a rim, a globular container and a normally rounded base; the pots and cups of sides with the angular equator and rim are also frequent. The designs, as in Nazca and Wari , are achieved by outlining the motifs with black and filling in areas or bands. With the arrival of the Inka influences there are slight modifications in the style, but these are not important and only some new forms appear, such as the barrel with an aribaloyde neck, that is to say, with a very expanded lip, and small asitas on the sides of the bottle.


Regarding metallurgy, both gold and silver and an alloy of copper with gold and silver were used extensively, especially for making portrait glasses, which are a demonstration of the advanced technique of the Chincha, since they used a single sheet made of metal and gave it the desired shape without welds or metal joints. They also knew the bronze with which they made ornaments, tools and weapons. They also carved wood to make carved oars, sculpturally decorated balsa rudders, and loom shuttles. They were also math pyro-recorders.


As magnificent architects they have left many monuments, that is, adobe buildings in the valleys where they were developed. So:

  • Ruinas de La Centinela, a huge architectural complex, with an approximate area of ​​400,000 square meters, near Tambo de Mora, in Chincha Baja, with walls decorated in high and low relief, with geometric shapes similar to some of the Chanchán walls ;
  • Tambo de Mora ruins, with its pyramidal buildings;
  • Tambo Colorado , in the Pisco Valley;
  • Incahuasi ;
  • ruins in the Cañete valley.

They did not build large cities and their architecture was expressed in the temples, palaces and fortresses that they built on the basis of these constructions adobe and adobones. They practiced the stucco technique, decorating the walls with the heads of fish, gannets and other seabirds. Around these buildings they erected houses made of mats and reeds where the majority of the population lived. Although it is true that the ruins are currently very deteriorated, however, remains of them can be seen in the architectural complexes of the Huaca de Tambo de Mora, the sentinel of San Pedro and that of Lurin Chincha.


The Chincha culture was also distinguished by its beautiful polychrome fabrics, with geometric drawings in which zoomorphic and anthropomorphic motifs were exhibited, with a fine finish.

They used cotton, achieving very fine fabrics in which they used up to 398 threads per linear inch, a good job of spinning so subtle creating beautiful fabrics.

Wood carving

A group of objects that attracts attention for its fine and detailed work is the wood carvings adorned with various figures, some of the carvings may have been rudders of boats moved with cloth sails similar to those of the Lambayeque culture . Other forms of wood carvings were also found, but these would be agricultural instruments for digging or plowing in the land in fertile times, in addition, some that seem to be oars were also found, although they are surprising that they are so decorated and even painted with blue, yellow and red, which are approximately 1.2 to 2.3 meters long.

They are carved from a single piece of wood, which usually has three parts: the shovel, the handle or paddle and the finish: The shovel is a generally smooth rectangular blade although it may have reliefs. The handle and the finish usually present a finely carved and openwork decoration: small schematic human figures; stylized birds, fish and other animals and geometric motifs such as stepping. Some also feature shell inlays. There are also independent wooden human figures, similar to those that appear small on the oars. They are characters with schematic features, with headdresses and circular earmuffs. The head may be large and disproportionate to the body.

They have little volume, their size is very flat and they can have a long support to hold the figure. Without support they can measure approximately 50 cm.

On the other hand, two truly enigmatic forms of these wood carvings stand out, which are: the long bars with several perforations with an anthropomorphic character at one end and the guarango forks decorated with a rather schematic human face. It is presumed that they were ceremonial poles.

Chincha woodcut

The Chincha culture used wood to produce farm tools and elements used in navigation. Works in a neat and detailed way, which presents five mystical characters dressed in different headdresses, birds and geometric figures.



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