The rich belonged to an ayllus of noble family
members. Members of the royals and nobility led a life of luxury. They
were exempt from taxation. They could own land. They could own llamas.
They had fine clothing. They were carried around on litters. The boys
went to school. Some were given jobs of importance in the government.
They had to be careful not to upset the Inca or they could rapidly lose
status and even their lives. But compared to the common people who had
to work very hard, their lives were ones of ease and interest.
Everyone dressed in the same fashion in
the Inca Empire - rich and poor. The quality of the cloth varied. The
rich had soft clothes, heavily embroidered. The poor had coarse wool
clothes. But the style was the same. Men wore sleeveless knee-length
tunics, with ponchos or cloaks. Women wore long dresses and capes
fastened with a pin of cheap metal or heavy gold, depending upon their
status. All clothes were made of woven cotton or wool cloth.
of Age Ceremony: When rich and poor boys
turned 14, there was a coming of age ceremony that allowed the boys to
demonstrate their physical and military skill. In a special ceremony,
the boys had their ears pierced. Then, they were presented to the sun
god, then took their place as adults. Boys from noble families worn
special clothes made for this ceremony, woven from feathers.
Hairstyles for the men were very
important. Each noble ayllu had a distinctive hairstyle. Your hairstyle
announced your social position. Since the Incas were very class
conscious, hairstyles for the men were most important.
Men wore decorative earplugs of shell or
metal. At their coming of age ceremony (at age 14), a golden disk would
be inserted in their newly pierced earlobes. Bigger disks were
continually added. These were called earplugs. Earplugs for the rich
were so heavy that their earlobes stretched over time until they
actually rested on their shoulders. This was considered quite stylish.