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Chakana (traditional Inca symbol)

Last modified: 2017-11-17 by antónio martins
Keywords: chakana | ornament | andean cross | cross: quadrate |
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[chakana]
image by António Martins, 24 Oct 2005


See also:

External links:

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Presentation

The chakana is a solar symbol used by South American Native people, featuring in modern Inca (= Quechua-Aymara) and Mapuche-Teheulche (= Araucanian-Patagonian) flags.
António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

The archetypical chakana seems to be an equilateral lozenge (tilted square) shape with a zigzag orthogonal outline.
António Martins, 04 Feb 2007

It is usually represented as a figure enclosed in a line made of 12 segments joined at right angles (both concave an convex) with two symmetry axis meeting at right angles, usually aligned as horizontal and vertical. The precise relative lengths of the line segments varies.
António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

At the M.P.L.T. website a geometrical and philosophical explanation for the chakana is given. This should be taken very carefully, as it differs from other sources on the subject (such as [mmfXX], [qch9X], and [ljj02], themselves hardely champions of accuracy…) and includes crude errors (such as calling a wavy line made from half circles a sinusoid).
António Martins, 13 Feb 2005

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Pierced chakana

[chakana]
image by António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

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Construction

[chakana]
image by António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

Some times the chakana includes a round piercing (with the background visible throughout), or a superimposed disc, either plain or diametrally divided.
António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

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Double-inscribed chakana

A more elegant shape is achieved by superimposing a square and two oblong rectangles, all centered, the latter two forming a cross and being both inscribed in an imaginary circle whose diameter is the square’s diagonals.
António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

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Construction

[chakana]
image by António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

This design is described and commented with a lot of claptrap in article [ljj02] (web version: image). Note that the prescribed angle, 22°30′ (a quarter of a quadrant and only coincidentally approximate to Earth’s axial inclination), does not match the rest of the specs sheet given, which may be a measure of the seriousness of this source.
António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

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Chakana as square blocks in grid

Most flags show simple designs, made of adjoined square blocks.
António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

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Chakana on a 7×7 square grid

[chakana]
image by António Martins, 05 Feb 2007

The pattern for the chakana and its placement on this flag is based on the 7×7 suyu flag design, which is yet another way to draw and place the chakana. Drawn like this it is not anymore a cross-on-a-square shape, but it is still an equilateral lozenge (tilted square) shape with a zigzag orthogonal ouline, which seems to be the archetypical chakana.
António Martins, 04 Feb 2007

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Chakana as 2+4+6+6+4+2

[chakana]
image by António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

Most flags show simple designs, made of adjoined square blocks — either 1+3+5+3+1 or 2+4+6+4+2.
António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

This design is both a quadrate cross and fits on a monometric orthogonic grid.
António Martins, 06 Nov 2017

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Chakana as 1+3+5+3+1

[chakana]
image by António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

Most flags show simple designs, made of adjoined square blocks — either 1+3+5+3+1 or 2+4+6+4+2.
António Martins, 24 Oct 2005

This design is both a quadrate cross and fits on a monometric orthogonic grid.
António Martins, 06 Nov 2017

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Other variants

  • MPLT’s chakana is divided in four "w"-shaped parts, standing from the four quarters of the Inca Empire, each made up of five adjoining square blocks.
    António Martins, 13 Feb 2005
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