For all the attention that has been paid to the magnificent Inca site of Machu Picchu, we know surprisingly little about the intimate landscapes where life took place within Inca royal estates. Insightful, evocative, and thoroughly researched, Stella Nair's new book explores the distinctive architectural spaces and structures of the royal Inca palace at Chinchero, Peru. Constructed for the Inca emperor Topa Inca Yupanqui as a retreat for himself, his favorite secondary wife, Mama Chequi Ocllo, and their son Capac Huari, the remains of Chinchero have intrigued travelers and scholars for centuries. Building on previous studies of Inca imperial architecture by Craig Morris and Susan Niles, Nair takes an explicitly experiential approach to comprehending the Inca use of space in the royal estate of Chinchero. As she explains in the introduction, her goal was to understand the site of Chinchero in the...

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