We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The Power of Huacas

Change and Resistance in the Andean World of Colonial Peru

By Claudia Brosseder

Publication Year: 2014

Based on extensive archival research, The Power of Huacas is the first book to take account of the reciprocal effects of religious colonization as they impacted Andean populations and, simultaneously, dramatically changed the culture and beliefs of Spanish Christians.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (59.5 KB)

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (72.4 KB)
pp. vii-xiv

To write the book was an odyssey, and my travels opened up a great many possibilities. I am deeply indebted to the many scholars whom I met. How can I thank them all? Let me try. Chance brought me ashore on the beaches of Peru and then led me further into the Andes. What...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (145.9 KB)
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...

read more

1. A Land Obsessed with Confessions; or, The Historians’ Insights into the World of Colonial Andean Religious Specialists

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.7 MB)
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...

read more

2. Civil Versus Ecclesiastical Authorities

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
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...

read more

3. The Sickening Powers of Christianity: A Response by Andean Religious Specialists

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.8 MB)
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”—...

read more

4. Talking to Demons: The Intensified Persecution of Andean Religious Specialists (ca. 1609–1700)

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.3 MB)
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 the Libro de la vida y milagros de nuestro Señor Iesu...

read more

5. From Outspoken Criticism to Clandestine Resistance

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
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...

read more

6. Glimpses of the Protective Powers of Andean Rituals in the Highlands

pdf iconDownload PDF (112.2 KB)
pp. 175-191

Even as visitators systematically destroyed the physical bodies of Andean huacas and imprisoned hechizeros, and despite the many assimilations and outward changes in their world, Andean religious specialists continued to carry the sacred geography of huacas in their...

read more

7. Andean Notions of Nature and Harm, and the Disempowerment of Andean Healers

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.0 MB)
pp. 192-228

In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Jesuits competed with hechizeros as ychuris, or confessors. At the same time, and increasingly toward the end of the seventeenth century, they competed with them as curanderos.1 The order tried to replace the indigenous...

read more

8. Weeping Statues: The End of Jesuit Demonology and the Survival of an Andean Culture

pdf iconDownload PDF (143.6 KB)
pp. 229-253

There is no single explanation of why, by the mid-eighteenth century, the persecution of hechizeros had 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...

read more

9. Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF (486.9 KB)
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 as hechizeros and their ritual performances as proofs of idolatry, superstitions, and, in brief, hechizería...


pdf iconDownload PDF (505.3 KB)
pp. 273-368


pdf iconDownload PDF (64.4 KB)
pp. 369-372

Consulted Archives

pdf iconDownload PDF (47.7 KB)
pp. 373-374


pdf iconDownload PDF (353.6 KB)
pp. 375-442


pdf iconDownload PDF (92.5 KB)
pp. 443-456

E-ISBN-13: 9780292756953
E-ISBN-10: 029275695X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292756946
Print-ISBN-10: 0292756941

Page Count: 478
Illustrations: 13 color and 15 b/w photos, 3 drawings, 3 maps
Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Indians of South America -- Peru -- Religion.
  • Indians of South America -- Peru -- Rites and ceremonies.
  • Shamanism -- Peru.
  • Peru -- Religious life and customs.
  • Peru -- History -- 1548-1820.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access