Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cuzco Morning

PEDRO PIZARRO (as quoted in The Last of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie) remembering how Atahualpa was waited upon by beautiful women, his concubines: "The ladies.... brought him his meal on delicate, green rushes.... They placed all the dishes of gold, silver, and earthenware [on these rushes] and he pointed at whatever appealed to him. It was brought over, one of the ladies taking it and holding it in her hand while he ate. One day, while I was present and he was eating in this manner, a slice of food was being lifted to his mouth when a drop fell onto the clothing he was wearing.  Giving his hand to the Indian lady, he rose and went to his chamber to change his clothes, then returned wearing a tunic and a dark brown cloak. I approached him and felt the cloak, which was softer than silk, and said to him, "Inca, what is the robe made of that it is so soft?" He replied that it was from the skins of vampire bats that fly by night in the Puerto Viejo and Tumbez and that bite the natives. When asked how it had been possible to collect so many bats, Atahualpa paused and said that it was done by, 'those [native] dogs from Tumbez and Puerto Viejo - what else did they have to do other than catch bats and make clothes for my father.'

PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL - "Cuzco," part 4:  From Cuzco, Atahualpa ruled as a puppet Inca. He ordered the silver and golden treasures of the empire to be brought for his ransom while he grew chummy playing chess with the Pizarro clan, as the jewelry and dinnerware of the ruling families and the sacred encrustations of the holiest of shrines were gathered up and brought to the room in the Temple of the Sun in Cajamarca that Atahualpa had marked with a chalk line to indicate how much gold and silver was needed to ransom an Inca.