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Saints and CitizensIndigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican California$
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Lisbeth Haas

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276468

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276468.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Politics of the Image

The Politics of the Image

(p.83) 3 The Politics of the Image
Saints and Citizens

Lisbeth Haas

University of California Press

Colonization involved the use of visual narrative and religious objects for baroque design and ritual practice. This chapter argues that, despite the way the church and state acted to control the meaning of images, indigenous painters and artisans created work suggestive of the nature of indigenous interpretation and belief. Franciscans used painting to foster the colonial process of erasure, but indigenous artisans and Franciscans both sought narrative influence in indigenous spaces and by giving meaning to images and statues. The chapter also suggests Christian Indians came to share an imagined community inhabited by saints, converts, and martyrs. It emerged from the missionaries’ printed and painted images that expanded, rather than foreclosed, indigenous visual practices. The chapter uses a methodology from indigenous studies that encourages comparison between indigenous groups around relevant experiences. It expands the field of comparison that previously only juxtaposed, for example, indigenous and European painting. In this case, the comparison focuses on the process of visual interpretation and representation by Andean painters in Peru and indigenous painters and artisans in California. The comparison illustrates the ways indigenous iconography and visual practices are transformed when brought into colonial painting and sculpture. It suggests how indigenous artisans created meaning with old and new iconography and form, and how they worked to gain narrative control and influence in colonial settings.

Keywords:   Cusco School of Andean Painters, indigenous art in Latin America, Council of Trent, Franciscan painting, visual culture, colonial painting, saints

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