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The pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas are very much in the public’s mind this year due to the so-called Mayan Prophecy that suggests the world will end on Dec. 21. Perhaps any fear-mongering will have the positive effect of sparking increased interest in the region. Luckily, media company TBS has organized an impressive exhibition at Tokyo’s National Museum of Science and Nature that takes a detailed look at what is probably the most fascinating of these civilizations, the mighty Inca Empire. Its territory stretched along the mountainous spine of South America until it was conquered by the Spanish in the early 16th century.

“This is the culmination of a series of exhibitions organized by TBS over the past 18 years that have dealt with pre-Columbian cultures and civilizations of the Andean region,” curator Izumi Shimada explains. “Each time we have selected a single culture to focus on, and have gradually worked up to more recent times, so the Inca is the logical conclusion. This is why we are doing this exhibition now.”

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