SIRACUSANO Gabriela Silvana
congresos y reuniones científicas
The hand that manipulates matter rules the world. Considerations on the material dimension within the evangelization process in the Viceroyalty of Peru (16th century)
Congreso; Congreso Internacional de Americanistas; 2012
Institución organizadora:
The material history of Colonial Spanish American artistic practices in the Viceroyalty of Peru is a field still full of silences. Nevertheless, in the last decades, some approaches have been settled towards the understanding of how the material dimension of religious/artistic objects played an important role in the definition of an evangelization program that featured the usage of images as a potent and effective agent in relationship with words and actions. The materiality of an image –or what we can understand as the body of images- does not only exhibit the presence and combination of diverse elements that together constitute it like so. These materials, and their manipulation, also carry significant loads to the service of certain cultural/religious practices as well as social, political or economic necessities. The materiality of an image keeps in itself the signs, the marks, sometimes in a residual mode, of intentionalities and meanings granted to it in a past time through the wills of many people who, directly or not, took part in its manufacture. From those who created or imagined it, those who ordered or modified it, up to those who travelled long distances to provide such-and-such substance, or those who simply offered advice on the technology of its treatment. On the other hand, its study also offers the possibility of understanding how those actors interacted with nature, either as provider of materials –pigments, colorants, resins, oils, wood, stone, etc- that meant different things for the Spanish and native people who manipulated them, or as a field/territory in which those objects –and their potent materiality-contributed to define and shape the scope of colonization. By the analysis of some cases –Our Lady of Copacabana image and the legend of the Carabuco cross, both in the lake Titicaca surroundings, between others-, combined with visual, historical and literary sources, this proposal will present some new evidences in order to show how the materiality of religious objects can be understood as archaeological ruins of the “making”, as effective dispositions of gestures and intentions, as material indices of concrete and ideal practices, and as Colonial control practices towards idolatry. In other words, how artistic matter turns into a “document” of the past.