Royals & Nobility Illustration

Inca Empire for Kids
The Royals & Nobility

Pointy Heads and Dangling Earlobes

The rich lived very differently from the poor.

It was easy to tell if someone was a royal or a nobleman. When a royal or a nobleman was just a small child, a board would be strapped to their head. This would force the top of their head to grow almost to a point. This was the symbol of nobility, including the reining royal family (wives and sons of the Sapa Inca).

Each noble family had a distinctive hairstyle for the men. Your hairstyle announced your social position. Since the Incas were very class conscious, hairstyles for the men were most important.

 Men had their ears pierced when they were 14 years old. The men all wore really heavy earrings, designed to change the shape of their earlobes. By the time they were 20 years old or so, their earlobes had been pulled so out of shape that they rested on their shoulders. This was high fashion.

They could not actually own land because the Sapa Inca owned everything, but they had land assigned to them as if it was theirs. They did not have to farm it themselves. The commoners did that job. But they could visit their land whenever they wished.

Royals and nobles not have to pay taxes. They could keep llamas for their own use. The boys went to school.  Some nobles actually had jobs in the government, but most nobles spent their time trying to look ever more attractive, and trying to think of ways to entertain the Sapa Inca and his family.

When they left the palace, they did not walk. They were carried around on litters by slaves.

All the nobles lived a life of luxury.

Some things were the same for the rich and the poor:

Same Fashion: Rich and poor dressed in the same fashion, although perhaps not with the same softness of fabric. Men wore knee length tunic, with a poncho for warmth. The women wore long dresses and wrapped themselves in colorful blankets or capes as needed. Men and women wore jewelry. The poor made jewelry out of clay. The rich had jewelry made from precious metals by talented craftsmen. The Inca people loved anything that glittered. They loved embroidery.

Coming of Age Ceremony: For both rich and poor boys, when 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, and took their place as adults. Boys from noble families worn special clothes made for this ceremony, woven from feathers.

Huts, Houses, Palaces & the Ayllu




Hair Styles

Courtship & Weddings

Kids and School

Religion & Gods

Daily Life in the Inca Empire

Sapa Inca


Incas for Kids