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A Culture of Stone: Inka Perspectives on Rock

Object and Apparition proposes that Christianity took root in the region only when both Spanish colonizers and native Andeans actively envisioned the principal deities of the new religion in two- and three-dimensional forms. The book explores principal works of art involved in this process, outlines early strategies for envisioning the Christian divine, and examines later, more effective approaches.

Maya Stanfield-Mazzi demonstrates that among images of the divine there was constant interplay between concrete material objects and ephemeral visions or apparitions.

Three-dimensional works of art, specifically large-scale statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary, were key to envisioning the Christian divine, the author contends. She presents in-depth analysis of three surviving statues: the Virgins of Pomata and Copacabana Lake Titicaca region and Christ of the Earthquakes from Cusco. Two-dimensional painted images of those statues emerged later. Carolyn J Dean.

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Object and Apparition | UAPress

A major contribution to both art history and Latin American studies, A Culture of Stone offers sophisticated new insights into Inka culture and the interpretation of non-Western art. Carolyn Dean focuses on rock outcrops masterfully integrated into Inka architecture, exquisitely worked masonry, and freestanding sacred rocks, explaining how certain stones took on lives of their own and played a vital role in the unfolding of Inka history.


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Examining the multiple uses of stone, she argues that the Inka understood building in stone as a way of ordering the chaos of unordered nature, converting untamed spaces into domesticated places, and laying claim to new territories. As a study of ancient rocks, their material texture, location and relationship to other features in the landscape, as well as their social agency during Inka times, A Culture of Stone is a welcome intervention and will be of interest to students of material worlds, anthropologists, archaeologists, as well as scholars of Peru and Latin America.

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Moreover, while advancing scholarship on the colonial Andes, she tackles issues relating to the interpretation of non-Western art and its reception, contributing to debates on material objects and the built environment in a wide range of fields. Moving between descriptions of the magnificent walls of Inka imperial buildings and worked stones in situ , Dean links them as related parts of Inka visual expression, which is hard to comprehend and not easily recognized. But, as Dean stresses, there is an intimate relationship between Andeans and stone that is at the heart of the greatest empire of Ancient America.

Cummins, Harvard University. Illuminating key aspects of pre-Hispanic understandings of landscape and the built environment, this insightful and thought-provoking study reframes the way we consider the Inka visual world.

Bk Cover Image Full. Sign In. Search Cart. Search for:. Carolyn Dean focuses on rock outcrops masterfully integrated into Inka architecture, exquisitely worked masonry, and freestanding sacred rocks, explaining how certain stones took on lives of their own and played a vital role in the unfolding of Inka history. Examining the multiple uses of stone, she argues that the Inka understood building in stone as a way of ordering the chaos of unordered nature, converting untamed spaces into domesticated places, and laying claim to new territories.

Dean contends that understanding what the rocks signified requires seeing them as the Inka saw them: as potentially animate, sentient, and sacred. Through careful analysis of Inka stonework, colonial-period accounts of the Inka, and contemporary ethnographic and folkloric studies of indigenous Andean culture, Dean reconstructs the relationships between stonework and other aspects of Inka life, including imperial expansion, worship, and agriculture.

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She also scrutinizes meanings imposed on Inka stone by the colonial Spanish and, later, by tourism and the tourist industry. A Culture of Stone is a compelling multidisciplinary argument for rethinking how we see and comprehend the Inka past. Paperback Cloth.