The Power of Huacas

The Power of Huacas: Change and Resistance in the Andean World of Colonial Peru

CLAUDIA BROSSEDER
Copyright Date: 2014
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/756946
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  • Book Info
    The Power of Huacas
    Book Description:

    The role of the religious specialist in Andean cultures of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries was a complicated one, balanced between local traditions and the culture of the Spanish. In The Power of Huacas, Claudia Brosseder reconstructs the dynamic interaction between religious specialists and the colonial world that unfolded around them, considering how the discourse about religion shifted on both sides of the Spanish and Andean relationship in complex and unexpected ways. In The Power of Huacas, Brosseder examines evidence of transcultural exchange through religious history, anthropology, and cultural studies. Taking Andean religious specialists—or hechizeros (sorcerers) in colonial Spanish terminology—as a starting point, she considers the different ways in which Andeans and Spaniards thought about key cultural and religious concepts. Unlike previous studies, this important book fully outlines both sides of the colonial relationship; Brosseder uses extensive archival research in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, Italy, and the United States, as well as careful analysis of archaeological and art historical objects, to present the Andean religious worldview of the period on equal footing with that of the Spanish. Throughout the colonial period, she argues, Andean religious specialists retained their own unique logic, which encompassed specific ideas about holiness, nature, sickness, and social harmony. The Power of Huacas deepens our understanding of the complexities of assimilation, showing that, within the maelstrom of transcultural exchange in the Spanish Americas, European paradigms ultimately changed more than Andean ones.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-75695-3
    Subjects: History, Religion, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-25)

    Almost all of the spaniards who came to the Andes from 1532 onward and left written records found the many different Quechua and Aymara terms for denoting what we can call, for lack of a better term, religious specialists highly problematic:achik, achicoc, achiycamayok, amauta, aucachic, ychuri, calparicu, camasca, soncoyoc cauchu, runapmicuc, condeviza, hacarícuc, cuyrícuc, hacchini, hampicamayoc, hampiocorhampicoc, guacamayoc, huasca, huachachikorhuachachicuc, huatucorwatoq, layca, macsa, villac, móscoc, omo, umuorhomo, miuycamayoc, pacharícuc, rápiac, socayoc, vacanqui camayoc, vallaviza, viropiricoc, vizaconas, yacarcaes, yachaccunacta, tala, tutu, phuu, supayona alicomata haque, toqueni,andhamuni

    As the Spaniards transformed...

  5. CHAPTER ONE A LAND OBSESSED WITH CONFESSIONS; OR, THE HISTORIANS’ INSIGHTS INTO THE WORLD OF COLONIAL ANDEAN RELIGIOUS SPECIALISTS
    (pp. 26-46)

    During the colonial period, Peru became a land of confessions. In 1684 the artist José López de los Ríos captured the dramatic importance of this Catholic practice in the history of Andean religious specialists on a 4 × 8 meter cloth (figure 1.1).¹ In the picture’s upper left corner an indigenous woman kneels in front of a Jesuit priest. Her face is black, a devil pulls her by her shoulders, and snakes crawl down her bosom. Behind the woman’s back, two other women dressed in indigenous gowns kneel in front of a third indigenous person—who boasts two horns—and...

  6. CHAPTER TWO CIVIL VERSUS ECCLESIASTICAL AUTHORITIES
    (pp. 47-67)

    The jesuits, more than any other order, were to determine the fate of thousands of indigenous religious specialists in Lima, the southern Andes, and beyond. Their three-pronged strategy of confession, incarceration of religious specialists, and reeducation spread westward from Lake Titicaca to the archdiocese of Lima.¹ There it was transformed into a unique political program charged with exceptional ecclesiastical power. From 1583, 1609, and especially from 1621 onward, Jesuit preoccupations turned into an ideology of a new and, in the seventeenth century, radical persecution politics with the Jesuits continuing in the role of ideologues until the late 1640s. With their...

  7. CHAPTER THREE THE SICKENING POWERS OF CHRISTIANITY: A RESPONSE BY ANDEAN RELIGIOUS SPECIALISTS
    (pp. 68-103)

    According to colonial andean religious specialists, their lands’ problems could be summed up in one word: Christianity.¹ Christianity was hard to bear, and its agents militant. Andeans were told by Catholic priests to call them “padre Diospayanan Diospa rantin missa rurak”—the “padre” of God, who performs a mass and exchanges it with God.² Historians can’t know whether Andean people addressed the priests in black, brown, and white habits in the same way.³ But we do know that Andean religious specialists’ distaste for Christians was long lasting.⁴ They were convinced that Christianity had brought sickness into their world—a belief...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR TALKING TO DEMONS: THE INTENSIFIED PERSECUTION OF ANDEAN RELIGIOUS SPECIALISTS (CA. 1609–1700)
    (pp. 104-135)

    Throughout his life, the Jesuit Ludovico Bertonio (1557–1625) genuinely cared about exchanging ideas with the native people of the southern Andes. He edited an Aymara dictionary in Julí in 1612 and, in the same year, added theLibro de la vida y milagros de nuestro Señor Iesu Christo en dos lenguas, aymara y romanceto his collection of writings.¹ Both books were intended to aid communication between his brethren and the Aymara Indians. The latter contained vivid accounts of Christ’s life and struggles, especially tailored to the indigenous experience. One of the parables that he accommodated to the “capacity...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE FROM OUTSPOKEN CRITICISM TO CLANDESTINE RESISTANCE
    (pp. 136-174)

    During the seventeenth century, times grew difficult for religious specialists. Over the previous few generations, their enemies and obstacles had multiplied as they increasingly struggled against God and the Catholic priests, visitors and unknown sicknesses, ongoing denunciations, and the conversion of their own people to Catholicism. It might seem likely that religious specialists, facing the misery of conquest, started to believe what priests had preached all along: that God and his staff were more powerful than theirhuacas. Some religious specialists certainly did.¹ Many others, however, were not led by God, or by the tortures of demons, onto the path...

  10. CHAPTER SIX GLIMPSES OF THE PROTECTIVE POWERS OF ANDEAN RITUALS IN THE HIGHLANDS
    (pp. 175-191)

    Even as visitators systematically destroyed the physical bodies of Andeanhuacasand imprisonedhechizeros, and despite the many assimilations and outward changes in their world, Andean religious specialists continued to carry the sacred geography ofhuacasin their minds or physical manifestations ofhuacasin their bags. As customs in the Andean worlds were deeply rooted in a logic that had developed over centuries, the attempted Spanish colonization of the Andean imagination, to a large extent, could only scratch the surface. Throughout the seventeenth century, religious specialists and Andean commoners often continued to perform their inherited customs in the prescribed...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN ANDEAN NOTIONS OF NATURE AND HARM, AND THE DISEMPOWERMENT OF ANDEAN HEALERS
    (pp. 192-228)

    In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Jesuits competed withhechizerosasychuris, or confessors. At the same time, and increasingly toward the end of the seventeenth century, they competed with them ascuranderos.¹ The order tried to replace the indigenous religious specialist in his role as a healer, arguing that the demon would keep the Indians in a terrible state of sickness.² Providing medical help in a spiritual and physical sense was one way to serve conversion.³ As the seventeenth century ended, the Andean-Christian dialogue in general, not only the Jesuit portion, shifted its focus from idolatry to...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT WEEPING STATUES: THE END OF JESUIT DEMONOLOGY AND THE SURVIVAL OF AN ANDEAN CULTURE
    (pp. 229-253)

    There is no single explanation of why, by the mid-eighteenth century, the persecution ofhechizeroshad finally turned into a phenomenon of the periphery. As is usual in any historical development, several factors were involved. Historians have cited the ongoing assimilation of Andean commoners in the archdiocese of Lima,¹ with the exception, perhaps, of the many strong-minded religious specialists in the backcountry that this book has focused on. Another reason lies in the withdrawal of the Jesuits from Lima’s center of power, and the diminished Spanish and Creole interest in persecution during the post-Villagómez era.² Even the clergy of Lima...

  13. CHAPTER NINE EPILOGUE
    (pp. 254-272)

    When the members of the Society of Jesus ventured into the Andes, they meticulously observed indigenous rituals. Indiscriminately, they labeled indigenous religious specialists ashechizerosand their ritual performances as proofs of idolatry, superstitions, and, in brief,hechizería, or sorcery and magic. But for the potential confusion caused by the termmagic, “European Religion and the Rise of Magic” would probably be the best title for this concluding chapter.¹ Indeed, the Catholic introduction of the notion of magic into the world of the Andes imported more than terminology. It was accompanied by the conceptual distinction between preternatural, natural, and supernatural...

  14. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  15. NOTES
    (pp. 273-368)
  16. GLOSSARY
    (pp. 369-372)
  17. Consulted Archives and List of Abbreviations
    (pp. 373-374)
  18. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 375-442)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 443-456)