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Religions 2018, 9(9), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9090262

Continuity and Discontinuity in 17th- and 18th-Century Ecclesiastical Silverworks from the Southern Andes

Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim, Am Steine 1–2, 31134 Hildesheim, Germany
Received: 12 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 15 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Ritual and Ritualistic Objects)
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Abstract

This article deals with interpretations of images on silver ecclesiastical objects from the Southern Andes dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The silverworks communicate contents on a nonverbal level and are integrated into ritual acts in the context of church services; this facilitates associations with non-Christian beliefs. If the images are studied by means of a combination of various analytical levels, transcultural processes become apparent in the images on the objects studied, and meanings emerge that would not have been brought to light by simple image analysis. This applies particularly to the comparison with possible indigenous meanings of European images, which enables a much more comprehensive interpretation. Depending on the beholder, the images may be interpreted as expressing continuity, i.e., as representations of indigenous beliefs; as expressing discontinuity, i.e., as representations of Christian beliefs; or as the result of a transfer of meaning encompassing and combining both belief systems, thus enabling a new way of “reading” them. However, a transcultural process of regional relocation and use of cultural elements is not only visible in the images; it is also illustrated by the ecclesiastical silverworks in the Americas as such, given the European influence manifest in them. View Full-Text
Keywords: South America; colonial period; religious transfer of meaning; multiple readings of images South America; colonial period; religious transfer of meaning; multiple readings of images
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Nicklisch, A. Continuity and Discontinuity in 17th- and 18th-Century Ecclesiastical Silverworks from the Southern Andes. Religions 2018, 9, 262.

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