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character, are we tempted on that account to trace in this the evidence of a less matured stage. Its character seems rather to confirm the native traditions of an intruding race by whom the refined arts of the peaceful and industrious Toltecs were arrested in their progressive expansion, or partially borrowed and debased in their adaptation to the barbarous rites of the conquerors. But there is still another remarkable people of the western hemisphere whose architectural remains, as well as other traces of their art and skill, embody records of an indigenous civilisation as remarkable as that which we have glanced at in the southern regions of the North American continent.


The ancient empires of Mexico and Peru are indissolubly associated together on the page of history in the melancholy community of suffering and extinction. Yet, while alike exhibiting extensive dominions under the control of a matured system of social polity, and vitalized by many indications of progress in the arts of civilisation: they present, in nearly every characteristic detail, elements of contrast rather than of comparison. tween the fifteenth and seventeenth degree south, the colossal mountain range of the Andes rises to a height varying from twenty-four to upwards of twenty-five thousand feet, from whence, as it sweeps northward across the tropical line, it gradually subsides into a line of hills as it enters the Isthmus of Panama, while its lofty chain extends nearly unbroken to the Straits of Magellan. Sheltered amid the lofty regions of the plateaus that rise step by step on the steep sides of the Andes, a gentle and industrious population found within the tropics all the effects of varying latitude in relative elevation; while the narrow strip of coast land, rarely exceeding twenty leagues in width, gave them command of the burning regions of the palm and the

cocoa-tree, fanned by the breezes of the Pacific ocean. Such a country, under the gradual development of a progressive civilisation, would have seemed fitted only for small, detached, and independent states, or a federation resembling in some degree that of the cantons of the Swiss Alps. But the most remarkable and enduring monuments of the civilisation of the Incas are the great military roads, fortresses, post-stations, aqueducts, and other public works; by means of which a coherent unity was maintained throughout dominions broken up by vast mountain ravines, narrow ocean-bounded lowlands, watered under a tropical sun only by a few scanty streams, and pathless sierras elevated into the regions of eternal snow. The Spanish conquerors, with all their boasted superiority, have allowed the great highways of the Incas to fall into ruin; yet, even after the lapse of three centuries, Humboldt recorded as his impression, on surveying one of them in its decay: "The great road of the Incas is one of the most useful, and at the same time one of the most gigantic works ever executed by man."


Peruvian architecture betrays abundant evidence of the same all-pervading centralization which gave form and law to the institutions and arts of that singular people. Its masonry was for the most part as solid and ponderous as it was simple, though enriched by the munificence of the sovereigns, and the revenues of the sacerdotal order. The great temple at Cuzco, and other favoured sanctuaries of the national deities, were resplendent with gold and precious stones. In general, the walls were built of huge blocks of stone, or when of bricks, these were of large dimensions and an enduring composition which has well withstood the action of time. But the elevation was low, the doorways were

1 Vues des Cordillères, p. 294.

the sole apertures for light, as well as for ingress and egress; and instead of the substantial approximation to the arch, which confers durability as well as elevation on the ruined cities of Central America, the roof appears to have been of wood, with an imperfect concrete of earth and pebbles, or even a thatch of straw. "It is impossible," says Humboldt, "to examine attentively one edifice of the time of the Incas, without recognising the same type in all the others which cover the slopes of the Andes. It seems as if one single architect had constructed the greater number of the monuments.' Simplicity, symmetry, and solidity, he adds, are the three features which constitute the distinguishing characteristics of all the Peruvian edifices. The edges of the stone are fitted to each other with the nicest care, and the masonry is frequently polygonal, with the surfaces unhewn, except where the stones have been carefully cut and fitted to each other. The Peruvian builder appears to have wrought from choice with immense masses of stone; and though bas-reliefs and other external ornaments are rare, there are not wanting examples of elaborate sculpture in a style admitting of comparison with those of the northern continent. D'Orbigny gives an engraving of one doorway hewn solidly out of a single mass of stone, and decorated with sculptures in low relief, arranged in a series strikingly suggestive of ideographic symbolism. It forms the entrance to a ruined temple at Tiaguanaco, in the Aymara country, which surrounds Lake Titicaca, with its mysterious architectural remains, assigned by the Peruvians themselves to an older date than the traditional advent of the Incas.2 Dr. Tschudi has illustrated and described some of the most remarkable specimens

1 Vues des Cordillères, p. 197.

2 D'Orbigny's L'Homme Américain, plate 10.

of cyclopean remains still to be met with on many ancient Peruvian sites. In some of these, as in a portion of the wall of the House of the Virgins of the Sun, in the city of Cuzco, the huge masses of polygonal masonry are of so striking a character as to have become objects of common wonder. One of these, prominent among the large blocks ingeniously dovetailed into each other, alike from its size and complicated figure, is popularly styled the stone of the twelve corners. The convent of the Dominican friars at Cuzco is built on the cyclopean remains of the temple of the sun. The ancient Spanish authors describe a fillet or cornice of gold, a span and a half in width, which ran round the exterior and was embedded in the masonry; while, both externally and internally, it blazed with barbaric gems and gold, and was hung with costly hangings of brilliant hues. Now its remains only attract us by the solid masonry, constructed on a scale well calculated to suggest anew the art of the fabled Cyclops, to account for its massive and enduring strength.

Mr. J. H. Blake, to whose Peruvian researches I have already been indebted for interesting illustrations of ancient arts and customs, has favoured me with his notes on this department, in which his training and skill as an experienced civil engineer, render him peculiarly qualified to judge. "On the desert of Atacama, near the base of the Andes, in lat. 23° 40′ s., the walls of nearly all the buildings of an ancient town remain, remarkable for the peculiarity of the situation, admirably adapting it for defence. It lies on the side of a hill. On the one side is a natural ravine, and on the other an artificial one, intersecting each other at the summit of the hill, thus rendering it impregnable on all sides but one. This side presents an inclined plane in the form of an acute triangle, across which, extending from side to side, from the

base to the summit, are rows of buildings; each succeeding row being shorter than the one below it, till at the top sufficient space is left only for a single building which overlooks all the others. These buildings are all small, and nearly of uniform size, each consisting of a single apartment. The walls are constructed of irregular blocks of granite cemented together, and the front walls are all pierced with loop-holes, both near the floor and about five feet above. The floors are of cement, and are on a level with the top of the wall of the building in front. Each building is provided with a large earthen jar, sunk below the floor, capable of holding from thirty to forty gallons. These were probably used for storing water. A short distance from this old town is a small fertile valley, watered by streams from the Andes, while the rest of the country for many leagues round is entirely destitute of vegetation." Such, it is obvious, can only illustrate to us the ruder arts and domestic habits of an. outlying settlement in an exposed situation remote from the centres of highest Peruvian civilisation. But the most enduring memorials of Inca sovereignty are those associated with the construction and maintenance of the great public roads, post-houses, and telegraphic corps, by means of which a coherent unity was preserved throughout the singularly diversified regions of the vast empire. "Of the great artificial roads," Mr. Blake notes, "that which leads from Quito to Cuzco, and thence southward over the valley of the Desaguadero, is the most extensive. It is constructed of enormous masses of porphyry, and is still perfect in many parts. Where rapid streams were encountered, suspension bridges were constructed by means of ropes formed of fibres of the maguey. Some of these bridges exceeded two hundred feet in length, and so well did this kind of bridge answer the purpose for which it was designed, that it was adopted by the

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