South America's ancient native cultures have long intrigued historians and archeologists, particularly that of the Inca, to whom written language was unknown. Their art, architecture, and oral traditions provide valuable clues to the flourishing society that was among the New World's most advanced civilizations prior to the Spanish conquest. This vibrant portrait of Inca life concerns the period just before the arrival of Europeans in Peru, offering a lively account of the people and their everyday lives: their diversions, their manner of dress and diet, their civic and social customs, their ceremonial rites, their art and literature. Starting with images of the setting and inhabitants, the text examines the the lives of the rulers and nobility as well as those of the common folk. This well-researched, lively account is essential reading for students and scholars of history, ethnology an cultural anthropology, and will intrigue and delight anyone with an interest in this fascinating civilization.