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maternal grandparents are called “grandfather” and “grandmother,”
and there is only one term for grandchild.The father’s brother is
called “father,” and father’s sister “aunt.”Similarly, mother’s sister
is called “mother,”mother’s brother “uncle.” The classificatory
parents use the same terms for man’s brother’s children and woman’s
sister’s children as the real parents, while the classificatory uncles
and aunts call these children “nephew” and “niece.”None of these
terms is reciprocal.
The conjugal relations are somewhat more complicated. A man
uses the same term for his father-in-law and his brother-in-law, and
the same term for his mother-in-law and her mother. He calls his
sisters-in-law by the same term that his own parents and siblings
use for his wife and her sisters.His parents call his father-in-law
by the same term he does, and they call his mother-in-law “aunt”;
both these terms are reciprocal.The terms used by a woman for
her relatives by marriage do not correspond exactly to those used by
the men.A woman uses the same term for her father-in-law and his
father, and the same term for her mother-in-law and mother-in-law’s
mother. She calls her sister-in-law “aunt,” or may use the same
term a man uses to his mother-in-law.She uses the same term to
the brother-in-law that her own parents and siblings use toward her
husband and his brothers.There is a special word for “husband,”
but the only word for wife is “woman.”
It will be readily noted that the primary basis of classification is
sex, either of the speaker (as is the case of the brother class and con-
jugal relations) or of the person addressed.There is a clear emphasis
on generations in the reckoning of descent, but the distinction is not
important in naming conjugal relatives. The distinctions by the
sex of the speaker or of the person addressed are so symmetrical that
it would be difficult to imagine the system functioning in a society
with rigid clan exogamy and descent in a single line, for there would
be no way of distinguishing clan relatives and nonclan relatives.
Cross-cousins are not distinguished from parallel-cousins by their
own generation, but are carefully distinguished by the previous gen-
eration, and it should be noted that all cousins call each other brother
and sister. The terms for brother-in-law and sister-in-law do not
imply that their users practiced the levirate, but they would not be
incompatible with such a practice.
Quechua Kinship Terms (Gonzdlez, 1607, pp. 96-98)
(1) Parent class:
MAYA-father, father’s brother.
MAMA-mother, mother’s sister.
Corn--father’s son or father’s brother’s nephew.
Ososr-father’s daughter or father’s brother’s niece.
WAWA-mother’s child or mother’s sister’s child.
VOL. 2 I
(2) Brother class:
WAwpr-man’s brother or male cousin.
PANA-man’s sister or female cousin.
NYANYA-women’s sister or female cousin,
TORA-woman’s brother or male cousin.
(3) Grandfather class:
C’oroLYo-great great grandchild.
(4) Uncle class:
*Caca-mother’s brother or cousin (uncle).
IPA-father’s sister or cousin (aunt).
*Concha-nephew (of mother’s brothers and cousins).
MoLYA-niece (of father’s sisters and cousins).
(5) Conjugal terms:
*Caca-(uncle) used by son-in-law and his brothers and cousins to address
his father-in-law, and his father-in-law’s father.Also used between the
father-in-law and the man’s father, and reciprocally among all the
IPA-(aunt) used between the mother-in-law and the man’s mother, and
by the wife addressing her sisters-in-law.
*Aqque-used by the son-in-law and his brothers and cousins to address his
mother-in-law or her mother.Also used by the wife as an alternative
to “IPA” in addressing her sisters-in-law.It may be used also by her
own sisters and cousins, and is reciprocal.
*Quihuachi-used by the daughter-in-law and her sisters and cousins to
address her father-in-law and his father.
*Quihuach-used by the daughter-in-law and her sisters and cousins to
address her mother-in-law and mother-in-law’s mother.
*Catay-used by the parents-in-law and their children and nephews to
address the son-in-law.Used also by the wife and her brothers to
address her husband’s brothers and their parents.
*Khachun-used by parents-in-law and brothers and sisters-in-law to ad-
dress the wife.
(6) Husband and wife:
QosA-husband (gnARr-man, as apposed to woman).
Compound terms have been omitted from this table. Gonzalez
gives compound forms by which any possible degree of blood rclation-
ship can be distinguished.Many of the terms in this list are no longer
used in Quechua, so that the modern kinship system is considerably
Marriage restrictions.-The marriage restrictions fit in well with
the kinship system.They can be divided into prohibitions of mar-
riage within certain grades of blood relationship and broader restric-
tions limiting the choice of husband or wife to certain social groups.
Marriage was prohibited with all direct ancestors and direct descend-
ants, uncles and aunts, and real brothers and sisters.Marriage with
a f?tst cousin was sanctioned if she were to become the principal wife,
SOUTH AMERICAN INDIANS
on the grounds that the cult of the common grandfather would be
strengthened thereby.The nobles were allowed to marry their half-
sisters.This exception to the general rule is not easy to explain.
The chroniclers link it with the later emperors’ custom of making one
of their full sisters their principal wife, and assume that just as the
Emperor was set above all human law, so his nobles were distinguished
somewhat from their fellow men.This explanation may be the cor-
rect one.(Cobo, 1890-95, bk. 14, ch. 7; Acosta, 1940, bk. 6, ch. 18;
Poma, 1936, p. 190.)
The social group which restricted marriage on a broader basis was
the ayllu (AYLYO), a kinship group discussed below.Garcilaso says
specifically that marriage outside the ayllu (parentela) was forbidden
(1723, pt. 1, bk. 4, ch. S), and Cobo lists a law which permits a man to
elope with a girl without her father’s consent, and suffer no penalty
provided the girl went willingly and both parties belonged to the same
village (1890-95, bk. 12, ch. 26).
In the Inca Empire, the number of a man’s wives was an index of
his wealth and prestige, and, because the women shared the agricul-
tural work, extra wives also made life easier for the whole family.The
ordinary taxpayer, however, was monogamous from necessity. The
first wife became the principal one, with precedence over all subsequent
ones; if she died, none of the secondary wives could take her place,
although the husband was free to marry another principal wife.The
Inca explained this as a means of preventing intrigue among the sec-
ondary wives.A widow could not remarry unless she were inherited
by her husband’s brother (the levirate).A son inherited his father’s
secondary wives who had not borne children. A man might also
receive wives by gift from the Emperor or by capturing them in war.
A man’s foster-mother became his secondary wife when he married
and remained so until he had paid off his obligation to her for rearing
hi (Cobo, 1890-95, bk. 14, ch. 7).
With marriage, a man acquired the status of a full adult and moved
into his own house.The ties of ancestor worship kept married sons
near their father, however, forming small extended family groups
similar to those of the modern Aymara. The nobility worshiped
several generations of dead ancestors, but the common people usually
did not remember generations more remote than the dead grand-
father, whom they worshiped (Cobo, 1890-95, bk. 13, ch. 10). The
possession of the dried and wrapped body of the worshiped ancestor
was the important link; so much so that if an unfriendly neighbor got
possession of the body, the descendants were forced to obey his orders
in order to keep up their worship (Anonymous Letter of 1571 (1848),
p. 448). Extended families seem to have lived by preference in a
common enclosure (KARCA) containing three to six houses, if we may
judge from the plans of such Inca sites as Machu Picchu and Ollan-
taytambo (see p. 000).
The Ayllu.--In modern Indian society, a number of unrelated
extended families living together in a restricted area and following
certain common rules of crop rotation under more or less informal
leaders is called an ayllu (AYLYO) or community.(See pp. 441, 483,
and 539.)There is no doubt that some sort of social group corres-
ponding to the modern ayllu existed in ancient times also, but its
nature is not easy to establish.The earliest modern writers who
dealt with Inca society (e. g., Bandelier, 1910) assumed that the ayllu
was a clan, and attributed to it all the classical clan characteristics:
matrilineal descent, exogamy, totemism, etc.Their conclusions have
never been seriously questioned, and the modern summaries of Means
(1925), Baudin (1928), Olson (1933), and Murdock (1934) repeat the
old assumption without attempting to prove it.It is timely to reex-
amine the question in the light of the historical and ethnological
The original assumption that the ayllu was a regular clan goes back
to the immediate followem of Lewis Morgan, who were eager to find
clans in the history of all human societies as part of their hypothesis
of social evolution, and who were compelled to rely on very fragmen-
tary descriptions for the Andean area.At first, it was not even consid-
ered necessary to prove the point by references to the chroniclers, for
it was universally believed, in the absence of village studies, that the
modern ayllu was a clan, and that Andean Indian society had not
changed greatly since the Spanish Conquest.The fallacy respecting
the modern ayllu is amply demonstrated by the articles on the Modern
Quechua and Aymura (this volume, pp. 441, 539) ‘and did not entirely
escape the notice of Bandelier, who made superficial studies of the
Aymara in the 90’s.1nstea.d of questioning the whole clan theory,
however, Bandelier concluded that the modern ayllu had merely lost
the clan character which it had at an earlier stage in its history.
In 1910, he said he had found proof for this belief, but the citations
from the chroniclers produced to substantiate it are all capable of
other interpretations (1910, pp. 84,146).
Any attempt to establish the nature of the ancient ayllu by study
of the chroniclers faces a serious difficulty in the looseness of Quechua
terminology. The word ayllu is used in Spanish with several very
different meanings: (1) The lineages of the Inca royal class, each
composed of the direct descendants of an Emperor in the male line; (2)
the social unit of several extended families with which we are now con-
cerned; (3) occasionally, the moiety!The word ayllu seems to have
been a general word for “kin-group” in Quechua, and its specific
meaning was probably made clear by the context.It is quite impor-
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