While I majored in art history in college, the only non-European and U.S. art I studied was African - ancient South American art wasn't offered. For shame! Investigating this Guerlain collection was a lot of fun and now I have books on Incan art on my already-huge Amazon wishlist.
Here is the Terra Indigo eye shadow palette. For some reason the pics came out blur-tacular, not sure why. Hmmph.
"Like colorful Incan qompi fabrics woven from shadows and pigments, the Terre Indigo eyeshadow unites all of their tones into a single palette," says the product description. Hmm, what are qompi fabrics? A quick Google search reveals that they were fine, high-threadcount cloths reserved for the most important community figures. The geometric patterns adorning them were called tocapus. The amount and intricacy of patterns corresponded to the rank of the person wearing them. (This is really the basic info in a nutshell - it was a very complex system and the Incas put great importance on the clothing they made. You can read more here and here.) Anyway, here's an example of a tocapu:
image from http://www.geocities.com/denniskriz/tocapu03-complex.html
I cropped one of the triangular patterns that seems to be the most similar to the one on the palette. I'm still not sure where Guerlain is getting the circles though - in all the pics I came across of the tocapus I noticed there was a lack of circular shapes.
Onto the bronzer. According to the ad copy at Sephora, it was "inspired by the design of extra-large wooden bangles, a trend of the season", but I thought the outer looked more like a partial Incan quipu - a set of knotted cords woven together to record numerical information.
Here's a quipu, for comparison:
(image from nytimes.com)
Pretty cool, eh?
Here's the inside. I'm not sure what this was supposed to be - it sort of reminded me of a sundial, but I couldn't find any pictures of similar-looking Incan sundials to support this theory.
While I think overall this collection could have been a little more authentic-looking, it seems that some thought did go into the design, and the inspiration was very clear. It definitely inspired me - now I want to pop down to Dumbarton Oaks in DC to check out their Pre-Columbian collection. :)