He went on to become literate in the language, although he did not achieve a perfect grasp of Spanish grammar. It seems that he used the figure "80" as a metaphor for old age, however, and many other references in his text indicate a possible birthdate of or shortly thereafter. Most likely he was born in the Lucanas province and spent most of his life in or near Huamanga, a central Peruvian district. In he was employed by the Spanish judge of Huamanga who was in charge of land titles.
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He did not have formal training as an artist. From to he represented his family in a land dispute, claiming land outside of the town of Huamanga. The case was decided in his favour several times, but he was eventually accused of misrepresenting his nobility and his claim. His punishment included lashes and two years of exile from Huamanga. The work was begun about and finished between and It comprised 1, pages and included drawings.
The work encapsulates the multiple issues at stake in the clash and convergence of Inca and Spanish cultures following the conquest. It blends multiple literary genres , including the historical chronicle , the epistle , and the sermon, with artistic genres that include portraiture, genre scenes , and historical representations.
The first two-thirds of the book is an attempt to convince the king of the nobility and sophistication of Andean civilization. The artist utilized European notions of space, composition , and figural representation throughout the book but drew with a simple line, flattening and abstracting his forms in a way that is strongly tied to the geometric abstraction that decorates Inca textiles and ceramics.
His illustrations also incorporated complex Inca metaphysical and social concepts. His Map of the Kingdom of the Indies, for example, utilizes European mapping techniques but imposes on these the Inca model of the universe in which the world is divided into four parts through the use of intersecting diagonal lines.
He also locates Cuzco , the capital of the Inca empire but not of colonial Peru, at the centre of the map.
In Inca society every town and every city was divided physically and socially into two halves or moieties, hanan upper and hurin lower. These moieties were also associated with right and left, and the hanan was in some ways the privileged moiety.
Some of the images confirm his piety but undermine Spanish authority. Spanish conquistadors often credited apparitions of saints with ensuring military victory during the conquest. He suggests that God, rather than the Spanish, reigns supreme.
It is now housed in the Royal Library in Copenhagen, so at some point it did reach Europe, and there is evidence that it circulated at the viceregal court in Lima. This article was most recently revised and updated by Michael Ray , Editor. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:.
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