- Inca (Inka)
Coca has been cultivated and consumed by Andean societies for thousands of years. The leaves of the coca plant contain alkaloids that suppress hunger and fatigue, especially at high altitudes. In Andean societies past and present, the plant has functioned as an integral part of social interaction and reciprocal exchange within communities and with the natural environment through ritual use and caching of the precious coca leaves.
Bags for carrying coca leaves were common accoutrements of Andean attire, principally worn by men but not uncommon to women in certain communities. The small pouch was hung from the shoulder or across the body by a long strap, affording easy access to the bag contents. Known as chuspa (ch’uspa) in Quechua, these bags continue to be used today.
Kimberly L. Jones, PhD, Inca: Conquests of the Andes / Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes, Label text, 2015.