Dressing the Saints: Indigenous Maya Elements in Catholic-Related Textiles at the Michael C. Carlos Museum Open Access

Caris, Elizabeth (Summer 2020)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/0p096696q?locale=en
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Abstract

Utilizing modern Maya textiles in the Michael C. Carlos Museum collection, this paper investigates ancient Maya and Catholic imagery working syncretically in Catholic-related Maya textiles. Catholicism and syncretism both figure in the ways in which the highly textile-literate Maya perform and understand their religion. The textiles discussed range from apparent continuations of ancient Maya imagery and techniques to incorporating Catholic symbolism to a deliberate subversion of the dominant foreign culture. This syncretism, and subversion, is particularly evident in the actions and textiles of the cofradías, or Catholic confraternities. Some textiles formerly understood as Catholic can now be identified as sacred shaman’s cloths, functioning in both shamanic and Catholic contexts. This paper focuses on one such sacred shaman’s cloth and numerous clothing pieces associated with a wooden saint figure, or santo. The uses and appearances of these textiles illuminate the intermingling of cultures and ideas that pervades the post-Conquest indigenous world.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

 

Introduction ……………………….………………………………………………………………1

Catholicism in Guatemala ………..……………………………………………………………….3

A Maya Shamanic Bundle Cloth …...………………………………………………………….....7

Santos in Colonial Spanish America …………………………………...………………………..15

The Michael C. Carlos Museum Santo ………………………………………………………….16

Conclusion ……..………………………………………………………………………………..27

Figures …...……………………………………………………….……………………………...28

Works Cited . ……………………………………………………………………………………34

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