Daniel Hahn

Does knotted string constitute ‘writing’?

Quipus, the accounting devices used by the Incans, are one of Silvia Ferrara’s many fascinating examples of speech made visible

Quipu, dating from the Inca Imperial Epoch 1300-1532. [Alamy]

Already a subscriber? Log in

This article is for subscribers only

Subscribe today to get 3 months' delivery of the magazine, as well as online and app access, for only £3.

  • Weekly delivery of the magazine
  • Unlimited access to our website and app
  • Enjoy Spectator newsletters and podcasts
  • Explore our online archive, going back to 1828


Want to join the debate?

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers by getting your first 3 months for just £3.

Already a subscriber? Log in