Huaca

From Academic Kids

In Quechua, a Huaca is an object that represents something revered, such as an ancestor, a god or even a character trait. The conquistadors extended its meaning to encompass any old buildings. This meant that the ruins of Moche administrative buildings would be called huacas just as readily as would their temple.

Many of the civilizations of Peru have considered all the world to be sacred and alive, this concept meant that anything of significant beauty or strength would be called a huaca at the time of the conquest of Tahuantinsuyu, the Incas. The European conquererors considered these to be idols to lesser gods than theirs, but they could not easily destroy a mountain or even a rock with their primitive technologies. If there was gold inside, they might change the course of a river to wash away an adobe burial mound, as they did at Huaca del Sol. In fact the structure had nothing to do with Sol, or Sun worship. It was a Moche site: they believed not in gods as such, but in the concept of duality.

Of course, huacas were sometimes idols to false gods. Before Francisco de Toledo murdered Tupac Amaru, Amaru gave a speech in which he claimed that when he or his brother consulted the sun via Punchao for advice, they just made up whatever they wanted the sun to say.

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