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South American Indians: Indians of the Colonial Andes


A number of promising points of entry beckon the student of emerging religious systems among people of indigenous descent in the colonial Andes. These beginnings include transformations within native ritual specialists' repertoires, customs surrounding death and the dead, and the expansion of elemental Catholic Christian catechization within families (and of sacramental life in general). But no feature of colonial religiosity was more vital and dynamic than the emergence of the cult of the saints as reconfigured and understood by native Andeans. The acceptance of images of Christ, the Virgin, and the other saints into the Andean religious imagination in colonial times challenges us to understand why and how new understandings emerged and developed. The capacity for mobility, inclusion, and reimagination inherent in beliefs and practices surrounding images of Christ and the saints offers up colonial Indian religion's central trunk and an analytical space from which other branches of colonial religiosity and culture can be productively studied.

Consider, first, an Andean system of meaning that appears to have encouraged native reception and understandings of Christian images: beliefs surrounding, and the interrelationships between, Andean divinities known as huacas (material things that manifested the power of ancestral personalities, cultural founders, and also wider sacred phenomena [Mills, 1997, chap. 2; Salomon, 1991]). There is no escaping the fact that one reads postconquest reflections upon these older phenomena, and that, as with much about the Andean past, any process of learning involves an appreciation of the needs of authors in a series of colonial presents (Graubart, 2000; Julien, 2000). Yet the fact that most understandings of huacas became "hybridic"that is to say, authentically native Andean and influenced, to one degree or another, by the thought worlds and vocabularies of Spanish Catholic Christianityis integral to the colonial processes and realities to be explored here. As will become abundantly clear, ideas about huacas and saints were soon shared not only among Spanish and Hispanicized Andean commentators, but among native devotees around sacred images. Two originally disparate systems ceased only to repeat themselves and were instead finding shared territories and conjoining to generate new understandings and religious forms (Sahlins, 1985). It is a case in which even the exceptions suggest the rule. By midcolonial times in the Andes, steadfast native opponents of the growing presence of Christian images in the hearts and minds of Indian commoners tellingly incorporated within their rejections and counterteachings the very characterizations employed against their huacas (Mills, 1994, pp. 106107, passim ; Cummins, 2002, pp. 159160).

And one can turn, finally, to the ways in which key Christian personalities such as Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other saints were brought inside Andean imaginations and societies in colonial times. Space does not allow the concrete exemplification required, but by sampling colonial Andean transformations, a key to understanding religious change appears. It lies in doing two things simultaneously: appreciating the novelty and seriousness of the early modern Catholic project, namely total and obligatory Christianization, in the Andes as elsewhere in Spanish America; and allowing the many consequences of this enterprise of "spiritual conquest" to slip the noose of official intentions, expectations, and prescriptions. My explorations build upon what has already been proposed by others and myself about the contest and compatibility of Andean ways with aspects of Catholic Christianity; selectively, and in somewhat chronological order, these include Kubler (1946), Millones (1969, 1979), Duviols (1971, 1977), Marzal (1977, 1983] 1988), Barnadas (1987), Sallnow (1987), Platt (1987); MacCormack (1991), Dean (1996, 2002); Mills (1997, 1994, 2003), Salles-Reese (1997), Saignes (1999), Cussen (1999), Cummins (2002), Gose (2003), and Estenssoro Fuchs (2003, 1996).

Evidence for the convergence between what one can surmise about an Andean huaca complex of beliefs and practices and those of the Catholic cult of the saints is compelling, especially in accounting for early transformations. But such convergences are not confining, as if pre-Hispanic understandings of huacas had to dictate an entire colonial aftermath of belief and action. What stands out, rather, is the unremitting dynamism of that which came to converge, a thrilling capacity for localized adaptation and translocal reproduction shown both by huacas (Urton, 1990; Taylor, 1987; Salomon and Urioste, eds., 1991) and by Christian images in the hands and minds of native Andean people. Saints, like huacas, were many and various, and they were reproducible in ways that defy simple notions of how copies and peripheries relate to originals and centers. Evidence of the often unofficial and overlapping diffusion of saintly cults and their devotional communities turns up everywhere and in ways that ought to revise not only elderly presentations of a "spiritual conquest of Indians" but also the most unidimensional portrayals of indigenous cultural agency and resistance. This brief entry emphasizes colonial Indians' complex motivations and continuing kinds of receptivity to ideas and practices that, whether sparked by non-Indian mobilizers or not, often became operative in shared and transforming colonial terms.

A Prolific Past is Perceived

An exploration of the ways in which the originally foreign power of saints was brought within and became vital parts of a colonial Andean cultural and religious system begins with conquest-era perceptions. One of the first in a series of perceptions glides past the Andean phenomena whose divine personalities and webs of relations would guide early indigenous understandings of Catholic Christian saints.

When Hernando Pizarro and other members of his advance raiding party wrote about their time in the coastal valleys of Peru just south of what became the Spanish capital of Lima in January 1533, theirs were among the first European minds with an opportunity to engage with fundamental native Andean religious forms and meanings.

Their encounter with Pachacámac, a venerable divine force of pan-Andean proportions, reveals Spanish instincts in the period immediately after the seizure of the Inca Atahuallpa in Cajamarca. Despite learning from Andean informants and from one of Pachacámac's attendants of the divinity's long oracular tradition, and of an awesome world-making and world-shaking might that had been taken carefully into account by the Incas, Pizarro and his companions were otherwise concerned. Accumulated offerings of gold and silver to Pachacámac caught their attention. They admired, too, the jewels, crystals, and corals bedecking a door at the very top of the pyramid structure.

Pachacámac himself struck the treasure seekers both as hideous and as a sad indication of the native people's gullibility. In crossing over the final threshold at the top of the pyramid, the Spaniards faced what their Judeo-Christian tradition and experience had fully prepared them to identify as an "idol." Here was a male figure carved at the top of a wooden pole. It took no effort and less theology to perceive Pachacámac as Miguel de Estete did, as a thing beneath contempt, a vile material form crafted by human hands and pilfering the adoration human beings ought to reserve only for the Christian God. The precious offerings, reportedly piled around the figure and adorning the site, showed only how much Andean peoples had been hoodwinked by an active devil who "appeared to those priests and spoke with them," conspiring to siphon "tribute" from up and down the entire coast and demanding a respect that in Incan times was rivaled only by the Temple of the Sun in Lake Titicaca (Pizarro, [1533] 1920; Estete, [c. 1535] 1924). It mattered particularly to establish whether the famous voice and oracular utterings of Pachacámac were the handiwork of the devil speaking through him or, as Hernando Pizarro sought to prove through interrogation of an Indian minister, artifice worked by the false god's attendants.

It was not long, however, before Pachacámac gave pause to different minds. Pedro de Cieza de León, who blended his own observations and inquiries with information about the coastal region gained from the Dominican Domingo de Santo Tomás, among others, can represent an uneasy transition. While still content to label his subject the "devil Pachacámac" and fascinated by tales of the vast quantities of gold and silver the "notables and priests" of Pachacámac were said to have spirited away in advance of Hernando Pizarro's arrival, Cieza also pushed harder and uncovered more (Cieza de León, [1553] 1995, pp. 214215). His closer examinations and those of others beginning in the 1540s and 1550s began to reveal the huacas ' multifaceted natures and interrelationships with other divine figures.

Pachacámac's divine personality offers one of the more majestic but still broadly illustrative cases in point. While consistently described across coastal and Andean regions as a predominant creative force "who gives being to the earth" (Castro and Ortega Morejón, [1558] 1938, p. 246; Santillán, [1563] 1968, p. 111b; MacCormack 1991, pp. 351352, 154159), he coexisted with other divine figures. The other huacas, too, were sometimes creative founders, oracular voices, and otherwise translocally significant. In some cases, sacred oral histories recounted these ancestral beings' origins, featured their contributions to local and regional civilization, in many cases told of their lithomorphosis into the regional landscape, and, importantly, explained their interrelationships and coexistence with other divine beings. Explanations of the natural environment and entire histories of interaction between human groups were encapsulated within the durably fluid form of the huacas' narratives, which themselves were remembered by ritual tellers, singers, and dancers (Salomon, 1991).

In Pachacámac's midst, Dominican friars from the convent at Chincha in the 1540s and 1550s learned much about one of these other regional ancestors and "creators," a divine figure named Chinchaycama. He was revered by the Yunga people at a certain rock from which the divinity was said to have emerged. And Chinchaycama had hardly been the only huaca of the Yunga. He was, rather, one of a number "who responded" to the requests and entreaties of his people. According to what the Dominicans learned and could express about this set of relationships, the Yunga made choices and assigned precedence according to their own changing requirements (including economic and environmental stress, and also political necessity). They effectively moved between huacas "who responded" and "this not always but only when they had need of them." This apparently selective horizontality did not much impress Spanish commentators, and it has struck at least one modern historian as an approach that treated "matters of religion somewhat casually" (Castro and Ortega Morejón, [1558] 1938; MacCormack, 1991, p. 155).

In fact, such glimpses of Chinchaycama's place within a broader picture, and of Yunga attitudes towards their huacas, suggest fundamental Andean religious notions. When the Incas entered this coastal region in force, with settlers from other zones, they built a shrine to their principal divinity the Sun and impressed upon others the importance of this divinity's attributes and consecration of themselves as his children. But Inca expansionism tended to incorporate rather than erase existing cults, effectively smoothing over necessary conflict and injecting themselves into longer regional mythohistoric trajectories. Cieza found that the cult of Chinchaycama continued for the natives of Chincha, operating alongside those of other divinities, including those favored by the arriving Incas (Cieza de León, [1553] 1995, p. 220). Later fragments of learning, while steadily reflecting more Cuzco-centered understandings of the historical and spiritual interrelationships between Andean divinities and the Sun, point in similar directions. Plastic and practical relationships between divine beings and between huacas and their peoples marked something of a ruling principle.

One such multiply informative bit of colonial learning was produced by the lawyer Hernando de Santillán amid a 1563 response to a royal cédula inquiring about Inca taxation. Along his purposeful way, Santillán rendered an oral tradition about Topa Inca Yupanqui on the eve of Inca expansion into the coastal valleys of the Yunga. While Mama Ocllo was pregnant with the child who would become Topa Inca, his voice was said to have issued from within her belly to inform her that a great "creator of the earth" lived on the coast, in the "Irma valley" (today the valley of Lurín, south of Lima). When Topa Inca was older, his mother told him of the experience, and he set out to find this creator. His wanderings led him to the sacred place of Pachacámac. Once in the presence of the great huaca, the story stresses, the Inca's gestures were those of a respectful supplicant, for he spent "many days in prayer and fasting."

After forty days, Pachacámac was said to have broken the silence, speaking from a stone. He confirmed that he was the "maker of the earth" whom Topa Inca sought. Yet Pachacámac also explained that he was not alone as this kind of force. He explained that while he had made (literally "given being") to all things "down here," that is to say on the coast; the Sun, who "was his brother," had performed the same creative function "up there," in the highlands. Delighted to hear that such an understanding had been struck, the Inca and his traveling companions sacrificed llamas and fine clothing in honor of Pachacámac. Their tone, according to Santillán's report, continued as gratitude, "thanking him [Pachacámac] for the favour he had bestowed." The Inca even asked Pachacámac if there was anything else he particularly desired. The great coastal divinity replied that since he had a "wife and children," the Inca should build him a house. Topa Inca promptly had a "large and sumptuous" house for the huaca constructed. But the gifting in the interests of his progeny had only begun. Pachacámac also spoke of his "four children." They, too, would require houses, shrines. One was in the valley of Mala just to the south, another in Chincha, and there was a third in the highlands, in Andahuaylas near Cuzco. A fourth child of Pachacámac was conveniently portable and would be given to Topa Inca for his safekeeping while he traveled about so that he could "receive responses to that for which he asked" (Santillán, [1563] 1968, p. 111; Rostworowski, 1992; Patterson, 1985).

Santillán's story merits both caution and close attention. Notably, privilege is granted to an Incan point of view, and to the origin of relatively recent Incan constructions at an oracular cultic center that was over half a millennium old. One is being treated to an explanatory narrative of political and religious incorporation in the interest of Incan overlordship. Scholars from a variety of disciplines have added different perspectives to show this kind of action to have been representative of how the Incas adopted certain oracular huacas in accordance to their need for effective regional influence and advice (Patterson, 1985; Gose, 1996; Topic et al., 2002). Yet there is a simultaneous demonstration here of the corresponding benefits of Inca sponsorship for Pachacámac and his cult: alliance and support were the surest ways to ensure that Pachacámac's "children," or new expressions, would spread across the land. In Pachacámac's case, one such expression needs no place and is to be carried about by the traveling Inca, ready to be consulted if the ruler should require a response.

The story invites us to contemplate what Andean huacas were and how they related to one another (Julien, 1998, esp. pp. 6465). The matter of just how huacas ' multiple personae, diffusions, and relationships with other divine figures might remain operative in colonial timesin cases where huacas endure and especially where Christian personalities enter the picturemust simply hover about us for the moment. Pachacámac's power continued to spread well beyond the regional landscape in which he was revered as a founder and creator because of developing relationships of cultic interdependence and his ability to replicate himself across time and space. Evidence of this prolific quality struck and clearly troubled Hernando de Santillán. He explained it to himself and his imagined readership in the following way: "The Devil, who speaks through them [the huacas ], makes them believe that they [the huacas ] have children," Santillán wrote. "And thus," he continued,

they [native Andeans] built new houses for them, conceived of new forms of worship to the huacas from whom they believed themselves descended, and understood them all to be gods. Some they worshipped as men, others as women, and they assigned devotions to each one according to a kind of need: they went to some in order to make it rain, to others so that their crops would grow and mature, and to [still] others to ensure that women could become pregnant; and so it went for all other things. What happened with so much multiplication is that soon almost every thing had its huaca. And through the huacas the Devil had them [the Indians] so thoroughly deceived that herein lies the chief obstacle in that land to lodging the faith firmly among native peoples to make them understand the deception and vanity of it all [reverence for these huacas ]. (Santillán, [1563] 1968, pp. 111112)

Other Spanish commentators reported similarly upon the Andean huacas ' ability to enjoy multiple selves, propagate beyond original territories, take over new specializations, and win local loyalties by making themselves indispensable. Santillán himself noted the findings of his contemporary and fellow lawyer Juan Polo de Ondegardo, who claimed in 1561 to know of more than four hundred temples [adoratorios ] within one and a half leagues of Cuzco at which offerings were actively made (Santillán, [1563] 1968, p. 112 and n. 1). Expressions of alarm were often followed by attributions of diabolic authorship seen in Santillán's account. More than a decade later, for instance, the Jesuit José de Acosta claimed to have received a priest's report in Chuquisaca (today Sucre, Bolivia) about a huaca named Tangatanga, whom that region's Indians believed represented three divine identities in one and one in three, like the Christian holy Trinity. "When the priest shared his astonishment at this," Acosta wrote,

I believe I told him that the Devil always stole as much he could from the Truth to fuel his lies and deceits, and that he did so with that infernal and obstinate pride with which he always yearns to be like God (Acosta, [1590] 1962, p. 268).

Writing almost two decades later, El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega went to some trouble to point out the fragility of the evidence upon which Acosta relied. But what stands out instead is his conviction that this understanding of an Andean divinity was a "new invention" of the Indians of Chuquisaca in colonial times, "constructed after they had heard of the Trinity and of the unity of Our Lord God" (Garcilaso de la Vega, [1609] 1985, p. 54). While Garcilaso disapproves of what he depicts as a blatant effort to impress Spaniards and gain from a supposed resemblance, he raises the distinct possibility that such colonial "inventions" were commonplace among native Andeans, and without the cunning he implies.

Quite convinced of the devil's wiles, but much closer to the ground of an early colonial local religiosity than either Acosta or Garcilaso, were the Augustinian friars stationed in Huamachuco in the northern Andes in the 1550s. They met and attempted to destroy a number of provincial huacas in what had clearly been a bustling pre-Hispanic religious landscape but found themselves particularly embedded within the realm of a divinity named Catequil. As with Pachacámac on the central coast, the oracular fame of Catequil had been fanned by close association with the Inca dynasty and, in his case, with Huayna Capac. Despite the fact that this Inca's son, Atahuallpa, had turned against this huaca after unfavorable news and attempted his destruction, Catequil's essence in a large hill and high rocky cliffs proved impossible to extinguish. Because the children or expressions of Catequil had already begun to spread, sometimes with resettled people and as part of Incan political policy in the time of Huayna Capac, he had other ways to endure (Topic et al., 2002, p. 326). What is more, his pattern of cultic diffusion appears only to have continued as Catequil's tangible "pieces," or children, were spread by mobilizing devotees. A perplexed Fray Juan de San Pedro, writing on behalf of the divinity's newest enemies, the Augustinians, claimed to have discovered some three hundred of Catequil's "sons" arrayed through various towns and smaller settlements in the region. Most were particularly beautiful stones that seemed easy enough to confiscate and grind into dust, but in other ways Catequil seemed to be everywhere at once. San Pedro believed that this multiplication of "idols" had continued "after the arrival of the Spaniards in the land" (San Pedro, [1560] 1992, pp. 179180).

As the words of these post-Pizarran commentators acknowledged, in one way or another huacas' cults were various and overlapping. While one divine being might remain rooted in a precise physical landscape and connected to a certain association and responsibility (often as a founding ancestor), others developed multiple roles and personalities that allowed them to transcend local beginnings and associations. In the cases of Pachacámac and Catequil, translocal significance and power were augmented by their association with members of the Inca line. Yet as the unparalleled narrative evidence collected in the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century province of Huarochirí would prove in the case of the cult of Pariacaca, not every important regional huaca with multiple identities and a vibrant supporting cast of mythohistoric "relatives" who had been important in the times of Tawantinsuyu was so actively promoted by the Incas (Taylor, ed., 1987; Salomon and Urioste, eds., 1991). In fact, Pariacaca can stand as a most famous representative for legions of other huacas not only in his region but across the Andes. While regionally powerful, these ancestral divinities were not so completely adopted (or rejected) by the Incas. Their intricate regional networks and transforming roles and significance for indigenous people continued deep into colonial times, especially in rural areas, where they were investigated and harassed sporadically by inspectors of native Andean religious error through the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries (Mills, 1994; Mills, 1997).

Spanish churchmen who were commissioned as inspectors of "idolatry" in the seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century archdiocese of Lima sometimes found precisely what an earlier Santillán or Acosta might have guessed they would find among so persistently credulous a people. They found the latest, elastic work of the devil. Did it ever seem too easy to these inspectors when Indian witnesses who appeared before them sometimes confessed that they ministered to figures whom they called the devil? Part of what the devil represented in this emerging religious reality was evidence of self-Christianization, that unpredictable by-product of uneven Spanish evangelization. After all, diabolic explanations for the huaca complex of beliefs and practices in pre-Hispanic and emerging colonial Andean religious life had, for generations, been broadcast in Quechua in schools for the sons of regional nobles, during confession, and from the pulpits in Andean churches. Not surprisingly, the huaca -like appearance, nature, and competences of these reported "devils" were unmistakable and continued to change (Mills, 1997). While the wild omnipresence of these Andean devils only served to confirm many Spanish churchmen in their understanding of who had spoken through the huacas and made them seem so powerful to indigenous people all along, it should signal rather more to us.

What remains pertinent is the fact that the devil was an originally Spanish Christian idea that, through persistence of association and gradual processes of selective appropriation and reinvention, had been reconstituted and internalized by Indians. If reconfigured Andean "devils" had lodged inside a transforming huaca complex, what other originally foreign, extraordinary things encouraged by Spanish Christian efforts, and simultaneously attractive and useful to native Andeans, had also been brought within the ordinary?

A Naturalization of Images and Institutions

Some of the ways in which colonial Catholic Christianity was lived in the Andes recalled older indigenous forms and purpose, and thus encouraged a gradual transformative process. For example, when new population centers and administrative districts coincided or approximated older territorial understandings, this integrative process began with the settling of extended kin groups (ayllus ) in new towns (reducciones de indios). It is impossible to generalize about the consequences. Proximity to huacas, and the bodies of mallquis too, combined with a sporadic or unevenly demanding Catholic clerical presence, encouraged everything from survivals through coexistence to innovative fusions (Mills, 1994, 1997; Gose, 2003). Even when such "new" communities failed in the wake of the late sixteenth-century epidemics, or were abandoned because of excessive tribute exactions or Spanish and mestizo interlopers, the more remote places and hamlets into which Indian families settled reflected changes. The churches and chapels that went up in very small and remote places suggested more than a hankering for "annex" or secondary parish status. "Arguments in stone," or at least in adobe blocks, could be made by native Andean Christians as well as by hopeful church officials (Brown, 2003, pp. 2932).

Sacred images and the voluntary lay religious associations (cofradías, confraternities) around them sometimes coaxed new religious allegiance directly out of older ones, as in the cases in which confraternities of Indians took over the herds and lands dedicated to the kin groups' huacas and mallquis. Like Andean people at the sacrament of baptism, and like Indian towns themselves, members of the lay associations took on a saint as an advocate and protector, and these became new markers of identity and difference. But if the rise of an image-centered, confraternity Christianity was encouraged by a striking convergence of Andean needs with the arriving European institution (Celestino and Meyers, 1981; Garland Ponce, 1994), the reimagination of what came together, and the answers cofradías proferred to colonial lives, were just as crucial. The cofradías facilitated new kinds of belonging especially for displaced individuals and kin groups in parts of the colonial world where older kinship ties had fragmented or where resettlements and work regimes kept people far from their home territories. In these conditions, new generations were born. A parish and, even more, a cofradía, appears to have offered spaces in which members might come together for each other and themselves. Indian cofradías emerged in such great numbers by the late sixteenth century that churchmen worried openly about their lack of supervision. Prelates from at least the time of the Third Provincial Council of Lima (15821583) attempted to discourage new foundations among Indians (Vargas Ugarte, 19511954, vol. 1, p. 360). The discouragement was not always observed by churchmen, let alone by indigenous cofrades, nor did thriving lay associations of Indians fall obediently into decay. According to the Jesuit provincial Rodrigo de Cabredo, the principal Jesuit-sponsored confraternity of Indians in Potosí, that of San Salvador (sometimes called Santa Fe), boasted "more than 1,000 Indian men and women" in 1602. Contemporary observers wrote admiringly of the religious leadership of female confraternity members in particular and of the care they gave the image of the Baby Jesus in the Jesuit church ("Carta anua del año de 1602," [1603] 1986, pp. 231233; Ocaña, c. 15991608, fol. 181r).

Catholic Christianity's convergence, through the saints, with structures that had guided the operations of an older huaca complex do not offer straight and easy answers or a singular "way" in which change occurred. In the middle of the seventeenth century, the indigenous parishioners in the town of San Pedro de Hacas, Cajatambo, revealed something of the complexity of the colonial religiosity and culture at hand. In testimonies before an investigator of their "errors" between 1656 and 1658, they explained how their local huaca, Vicho Rinri, was annually consulted on the eve of the Catholic festival of the town's eponymous patron. What was more, their celebrations had come to feature sacred dances, indigenous ritual confessions, and Andean offerings to Saint Peter in the home of his standard's honorary bearer. While the officiating Spanish judge and his notary insisted that the huaca was being asked permission (as the devil might wish) and that the activities of the saint's guardians and the intimate sacrifices before the representation were the height of irreverence, our interpretative options should not close so readily. It seems more likely that for at least some of the parishioners of Hacas, Saint Peter had been brought within an emerging system in ways that altered but did not interrupt older religious allegiances and understandings (Mills, 1994).

Reproducibility offers another critical theme to consider. Just as important huacas developed multiple personalities and specializations, generating expressions of themselves in other places, so too was it common for saints to transcend their original forms, functions, and places through networks of image "copies" and shrines. In this sense, the local religious enthusiasms of Spanish Christianity for images, newly defended and refortified at the Council of Trent (Christian, 1981a, 1981b) were planted in most fortuitous soil. In some cases, huacas themselves were Christianized, morphing into saintly personages as their places became sacred shrines in the Catholic system (Sallnow, 1987, p. 54). Like ambitious huacas who, through their ministers and often out of necessity, tied their fortunes to Inca rulers or speculated through "children" in widening locations, Christ, Mary, and the other saints were amenable to being co-opted, copied, and reenergized in new environments. Many sacred images, either brought originally from Europe or made in the Andes but based upon Old World models, both capitalized on their curious novelty and shed their identity as foreigners, becoming "localized and renewed" in the Andes, as elsewhere (Dean, 1996, p. 174; Gruzinski, 1990). Whether "new" expressions or faithful copies, saints became local originals, favoring a horizontal approach to religious matters similar to that which Santillán, the Dominicans, and others had so worried over among the Yunga. William B. Taylor's words on the character and development of "devotional landscapes" in colonial Mexico apply just as usefully to our understanding of how saints appealed to and worked for the colonial descendants of the Yunga and their Andean neighbors: "People were likely to be interested in more than one shrine or saint," Taylor writes, "and felt a more intense devotion to one or another at a particular time, as the array of saints' images available in most churches suggests; and devotees may never have actually visited the shrine of a favourite image or relic" (Taylor, 2004).

The working of saints' images and their copies can be partly explained through the "familiar" language and associations used most often to elucidate divine connections and expansion. Spanish, Indian, and mestizo descriptions of huacas as ancestors, husbands, wives, and progeny, and of themselves as the children of these beings, abound. Idioms of kinship and marriage that had symbolized interrelationships and subtle hierarchies between huacas and their peoples offered affectionate titles and also a vocabulary for characterizing associations between the images of saints and Christ and their colonial groupings of people. Early-seventeenth-century Aymara speakers on the shores of Lake Titicaca, for instance, were said to have bestowed the title of mamanchic (mamancheq ), "mother of all," upon Francisco Tito Yupanqui's sculpture of the Virgin of the Candlemas at Copacabana (Ramos Gavilán, [1621] 1988; Salles Reese, 1997, p. 162). Similarly, their contemporaries, indigenous mineworkers and their wives and families in Potosí, flocked to a miraculous painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe from Extremadura in the church of San Francisco whom they called the señora chapetona, "the new lady in the land" (Ocaña, c. 15991608, fols. 159r). Such familiar and localizing designations abound for images of Mary (Dean, 2002, pp. 181182), but they were not confined to her. As Thierry Saignes has found, the inhabitants of main Andean towns sometimes included (and subordinated) the sacred images of annex hamlets in a remarkably similar fashion: "the crosses and statues that decorated the village chapels were considered the 'sons-in-law' of those belonging to the church in town" (Saignes, 1999, p. 103).

The Marian images featured above are, of course, only two of many. They offer illustrative examples of the significance of multiplication and circulation and of a wider range of devotional networks across the Andean zone and early modern world. It is to ponder only an inviting surface to note that Tito Yupanqui's Our Lady of Copacabana from the early 1580s both was and was not an Andean "original." Her Indian maker famously modeled his Virgin of the Candlemas on a statue of Our Lady of the Rosary brought from Seville to the Dominican convent and church in Potosí, an image that had caught his eye and fired his devotion when he was learning his art in the silver-mining center (Mills et al., 2003, pp. 167172). The miraculous image at Copacabana herself quickly spawned many sculpted and portrait "copies" that were enshrined in chapels across the Andes. These local copies grew more compelling to devotees by signaling their connection to the divine presence of their originals. Some began to sweat, others moved, and many were judged responsible for interceding with God to produce miracles, the narratives of which spread in the street and were broadcast from the pulpits and pages of clerical promoters and patrons. In the case of a copy of the Virgin of Copacabana among a group of disgruntled, resettled Indians in Lima's Cercado, the image reportedly cried for attention and devotion, prompting decades of contest not only over the purported miracles but over her rightful place and constituency. The intersecting roles of different Indian groups, African slaves, prelates, secular clergy, and Jesuits in this case defy simple explanations.

The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe de Extremadura painted by Ocaña in Potosí can seem a more straightforward case, that of an official purveyor's painstakingly faithful expression of a Spanish original being transplanted in the Andes. Yet the localization and rooting of a new expression here also repays closer inspection. The image's creator, the Jeronymite Diego de Ocaña, claimed to have rendered the image with the Indians' self-identification and affections foremost in mind: "Since I painted her a little dark, and the Indians are like that, they said that That Lady was more beautiful than the other images, and [that] they loved her a lot because she was of their colour." Among other aspects of his orchestration of new devotions around this image in Potosí, Ocaña quickly mobilized the Franciscan preacher Luis Jerónimo de Oré to preach to the Indians in their tongue about the history of the original Virgin of Guadalupe and about the transfer of this celestial advocate's powers through the new image to their place. (Ocaña, c. 15991608, fols. 159r, 163v; Mills, 2003). A miraculous narrative tradition was being added to and reshaped in Potosí as new Andean stories were being spun.

An Andean Christian Interculture

The cult of the saints offers an aspect of the Catholic Christian system that appealed to colonial native Andeans as much for its familiarity as for its access to new local powers. In highly interactive regions such as the Andean zones on which Spanish Christians began to impinge in the 1530s, that which was foreign was not unexpected. The foreign and novel mightlike a new huaca, like the concept of the devilrequire understanding initially in terms that would allow definition within emerging systems of meaning and practice. But the allure and utility of unfamiliar expressions of sacred power were tied to their perceived ability to summon valuable powers from "outside" (Helms, 1993). In time, visual expressions of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other saints appear to have offered this kind of power for many native Andeans. Closer studies need to be made of a variety of divine personalities and sacred territories over time to understand whether the associations and competences of particular huacas are related in any way to the specializations of saints as advocates and if a tendency away from highly localised and specificist saints and toward generalist advocates such as the Virgin and Christ proposed by William Christian (1981) for contemporary rural Castile plays out in cultic developments in the colonial Spanish Americas. But what is clear is that the saints became principal inhabitants and powers within what Thomas Cummins has called a contested but mutual "cultural area between Catholic intention and Andean reception" (Cummins, 1995; 2002, p. 159).

Discovering how the thoughts of contemporaries can inform us on such mattersand, more often than not, interpreting their silencesoffers a constant challenge. This is as true of representations of saints and their developing domains as it is of renderings of the huacas' pre-Hispanic natures and what had been their catchment areas. Yet even triumphant declarations about the saints that seem to skate over difficulties and ignore complex possibilities hold promise for our project. For instance, when considering the fact that the seventeenth-century Augustinian Creole Antonio de la Calancha carved up Peru into three devotional zones watched over by miraculous images of Mary that just so happened to be nurtured and championed by his religious order, it can be tempting to throw in the towel. It was, he wrote, as if the Virgin of Guadalupe in the north coastal valley of Pacasmayo, the Virgin of Copacabana in Chucuito, and the Virgin of Pucarani (toward La Paz) were divinely linked and spread apart so as "to bless [beatificar ] the different territories in which they are venerated, and so as not to tire travelers and pilgrims when they go in search of them" (Calancha, [1638] 19741982, p. 1362). Yet we must view this as more than Augustinian pride and claim-making against the encroachments of other religious, and more, too, than simply a solemn register of God's designs in these friars' favor. Calancha's appeal is arguably also to native Andean devotees who he knows from experience had once moved across these very territories according to earlier divine markers and divisions.

The representations of the Jesuit provincial Rodrigo de Cabredo in 1600 as he described the work of padres from the Jesuit college at Cuzco in towns and villages in the region of Huamanga (modern Ayacucho) in 1599 offer an even more illuminating example for our purposes. In one place (probably San Francisco de Atunrucana), the Jesuits had set to building a new church to replace one struck by lightning and burned to the ground. In the presence of many people, including the kuraka, sacred images of the town's patrons San Francisco and the Baby Jesus had been enshrined and a sermon was given in commemorative thanks that local people had been freed from their blindness and the clutches of the devil. According to Cabredo:

One of the principal fruits of this mission was teaching the Indians about the veneration (adoración ) of images, telling them [first] not to worship (adorar) them as Indians do their huacas, and [second] that Christians do not think that virtue and divinity resides in them [the images] themselves but, rather, look to what they represent. [Teaching] this [matter] is of the utmost importance, because a bad Christian with little fear of God had sowed a very pernicious and scandalous doctrine in this pueblo, saying many things against the honor and reverence that the images deserve.

Cabredo's emphasis falls ultimately on what was needed to "remedy the poison the Devil had sown through his minister" ("Carta anua," [1600] 1981, pp. 7376). The notion of a wandering "bad Christian" as the devil's instrument, leading Indians astray with "pernicious and scandalous" confusions about images and huacas, does not fail to raise questions and suggest complications. For even if this "bad Christian" did exist, he or she appears to have found a ready audience for comparative thoughts about saints' images and huacas, an audience of Indians at the dawn of the seventeenth century about whom the Jesuits in Huamanga and well beyond had grown concerned.

Cross-cultural thinkers and mobilizerscontemporary people who conceptualized, influenced, and reflected religious in-betweens in the colonial Andesoffer perhaps the most remarkable indications of why and how the cult of the saints came to underpin local Andean Christianities. As dismissive as the mestizo humanist El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega had found himself in thinking over the possible interpretative needs of colonial Indians in Chuquisaca, as noted above, he did concoct a definition of the concept of huaca with considerably more paths into emerging colonial understandings than dead ends. At its center was a denial that people in Incan times had understood huacas to be gods and a hint that the appeal of Christian images and miracle stories to a native Andean might follow on naturally (Garcilaso de la Vega [1609] 1985, pp. 5155, pp. 4555; MacCormack, 1991, pp. 335338). Saints, like the extraordinary ancestral beings, might be represented in forms, and stories of their deeds might be conveyed, collected, and retold by special humans.

Luis Jerónimo de Oré, the experienced Franciscan Creole whom Diego de Ocaña had recruited to preach about the Virgin of Guadalupe in Potosí in 1600, was a figure who approached such matters of possible congruence directly, in the course of evangelization. Engraved images of the Virgin begin and end his Symbolo Catholico Indiano of 1598, accompanied by words to guide contemplation. Mary was also a principal concern in the book itself, as Oré translated her and his faith through prayers and hymns, expounding doctrine and mysteries for Quechua-speaking Christians (Oré, [1598] 1992). The so-called anonymous Jesuit of the late sixteenth or early seventeenth centurypossibly but not certainly the mestizo Blas Valera (Jesuita Anónimo [c. 1594] 1968, BNS ms. 3177; Urbano, 1992; Hyland, 2003), offers another rich case in point. He was an author immersed in a project of interpreting the Incan past as an ordered and moral anticipation for Catholic Christianity, particularly as directed by the Jesuits in structured environments such as Lima's resettled enclosure for Indians, Santiago del Cercado. Yet he had also had much else to say en route.

The Jesuit held, for instance, that the only mode of entry into Christianity that was working for native Andeans in his day amounted to self-Christianization sustained by a regular experience of the sacraments. Certainly the people benefited from priests fluent in the Quechuan language to administer to them, and they required good examples to excite their faith, just as his contemporary Acosta insisted more famously. "But when they lack someone to instruct them," the anonymous Jesuit added, "they look for ways to pick up what is required and teach it to their children." Like Oré, this Jesuit believed that native Andeans were inclined toward Catholic Christianity by their pre-Hispanic understandings and that their depth in the faith depended most upon Christianity being enlivened by careful formulations in the Quechuan language. Most Indian Christians were new and vulnerable, in his view, but this did not make them any less genuine additions to the fold. The arrival at a moment when the pace and character of religious change would depend upon the Indians' own efforts and controls was already at hand in some places, he implied, even if further work was needed on communicating key aspects of the faith.

Near the heart of such further efforts, in this Jesuit's opinion, should be "historical narration and personal conversations in which the saints' lives are told and matters of virtue are treated." Picking up on what his contemporaries the Creole Oré and the peninsular Ocaña also believed and were putting into action, the anonymous Jesuit wrote that if an evangelizer's skills were such that he could translate Christian narratives into the Indians' languages, then so too could the articles of the faith, the commandments, the works of mercy, and the sacraments be rendered, allowing the arriving religion, finally, to be deeply understood. His emphasis upon the gains which might come from "conversaciones particulares " about the saints captures his understanding both of the intimate and horizontal manner in which the cult of the saints had already begun to enter the hearts and minds of native Andeans, and of the way that self-Chris-tianizationdaily ritual activity, communication, and developing understandings among Indian women and men, within families and lay sodalities, and between friends and acquaintanceswould see this process continue. Saints could take on new Andean lives in Quechua. Only the older generation of Indians and their oral traditions seemed to present an obstacle to this vision. But for this too, the Jesuit had a suggestion. Indian children could begin "to sing before them [the adults] so that in this way they forget the ancient songs" (Jesuita Anónimo, [c.1594] 1968, pp. 8081).

The "ancient songs" stand in here for the huacas and, in a certain sense, for the pre-Hispanic religious complex as a whole. This Jesuit's optimistic view of his colonial present and his faithful glimpse into the future sees a gradual substitution of one set of songs, beliefs and practices for another, the old for the new. But students of these matters are not obliged to think so instrumentally. The author's acknowledgment of what one might call a "creative tension" between modes of religious understanding and ritual remembrance in operation in the colonial Andes is more telling. He believes that a fundamental Andean religious aptitude and enthusiasm for the saints, and for their hagiographic narratives and edifying stories, had come from somewhere elastic and enduring in native Andean cultural tradition. Evidence of the survival of huaca cults, and their relationships and sacred histories, exists into the eighteenth century and beyond and suggests that he was correct. But what can be understood about huacas should not stop just here, split off, as if the study of pre-Hispanic phenomena, much less colonial "idolatry," can be separated from the culturally dialogic reality of evangelization and response and from the emergence and fruition of Andean Christianities. Huacas, with their multiple personalities and translocality, provided Spanish and Hispanicizing minds with ways of thinking and expressing religious relationships, and they provide colonial indigenous people with ways of understanding the images of saints and their "copies" as newly local repositories of beneficence and power.


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Kenneth Mills (2005)

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