Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



Andean Defense of the Eucharist paintings portray an eternal conflict \u2013 that between Spanish monarch and non-believers, but more importantly, that between balanced and complementary opponents. Defense paintings ultimately honor the reciprocity between idolatry and orthodox religion, and they owe their inception to the unique circumstances of viceregal Peru. The invention of the iconography can be attributed to an Andean affinity for understanding triumph as the coming together of festive, complementary opponents. Colonial dictionaries describe tinku [tinkuy] and its many linguistic permutations, as a place of union where two opposing yet complementary forces have come together to form something new and powerful. In the Defense of the Eucharist, this new and powerful force is the monstrance. It serves as the symbolic and compositional crux of the iconography. Andean artists utilized European prints to create the uniquely Peruvian iconography, but they altered these models in significant ways. Firstly, Andean artists substituted dignified Turks in place of Protestants. This is noteworthy, as the conquest discourse oft conceived of Turks as analogous to Amerindians. Secondly, Andean artists organized the figures in the paintings according to indigenous spacial hierarchies, such as Hanan/Hurin bilateral symmetry. The uniquely Andean composition presents the Turks as balanced opponents to Christians; it celebrates the triumph of Catholicism in Peru as the mutual achievement of both Catholics and their dignified heretical foes. Andean monstrances in Defenses flirt with idolatry through their affiliation with the Inca Sun-God Inti, and their presentation on a column, in an outdoor setting. Additionally, the gold leafing applied to the canvas calls attention to the material history of Andean monstrances, their early assemblage from the gold of melted down pre-hispanic idols.' This oscillation between orthodox and heretical presence in the monstrance commemorates the precarious place that the eucharistic sacrament held in colonial society. Defense paintings also pay homage to Moros vs. Cristianos performances: mock-battles that occurred in viceregal Peru between complementary moieties, both Iberian and indigenous, that were enacted in hopes to promote social cohesion and communal well being. The paintings serve as a lasting testament to moieties' desire to achieve tinku thorough enacting choreographed dances that featured the Moor/Turk character. Defense paintings thus participated in the colonial re-imagining of the Turk, shifting the Turk away from his typically pejorative role, and instead presenting the character as a dignified and necessary complement to Catholicism.'



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jackson, Margaret

Second Committee Member

Andrews, Justine


Peru, Cusco School, Colonial Art, Andes, Andean, Tinku, Monstrance, Turks, Muslim, Viceregal, Hanan Hurin, Keros, Hapsburg Spain, Defense Eucharist, Counter Reformation Art, Performance, Moros vs. Cristianos