Conquest, travel and the slave tradefrom the moment of Columbus' landing
onwardsforced people of disparate cultures and ethnicities together
in Spanish America, be they indigenous, European, African or Asian. The resulting
mixes of people and their cultural traditions became a hallmark of Spanish
American life. This unit considers the visual culture that arose from this
history of mixing, a process called mestizaje. It includes objects like this
Taíno zemi, a sacred figure crafted in the Caribbean of local shell
beads, glass mirrors from Europe, and rhinoceros horn from Africa. In examining
works that bear witness to cross-cultural exchange (and at times conflict),
this unit asks how people in Spanish America used visual culture to make sense
of ethnic and material diversity in their daily life.
ca. 1510-15. Museo Nazionale Preistorico ed Etnografico "Luigi Pigorini,"
2005, Dana Leibsohn and Barbara Mundy
Please credit as: Leibsohn, Dana, and Barbara Mundy, Vistas: Visual Culture
in Spanish America, 1520-1820.