Quipu (n.) : A contrivance employed by the ancient Peruvians, Mexicans,
etc., as a substitute for writing and figures, consisting of a main
cord, from which hung at certain distances smaller cords of various
colors, each having a special meaning, as silver, gold, corn, soldiers.
etc. Single, double, and triple knots were tied in the smaller cords,
representing definite numbers. It was chiefly used for arithmetical
purposes, and to register important facts and events.