In the South American Andean colonial painting type of The Child Mary Spinning, the pictorial representation of textiles subtly indexes differences concering the meaning textiles had in the European versus Andean contexts and offers a discourse on contemporary religious and socio-economic confrontations. Derived from a 17th century Spanish model, this 18th century Andean painting type has been commented on as possibly alluding to Inka royalty through Mary's representation, as ambiguity in the figure’s attributes can be seen to reflect both European and Andean worldviews. However, my interest in this painting type moves away from a focus on the figure as a central concern and instead looks more closely at at textiles, and particularly Mary's mantle, as the image’s main reference to cultural crosscurrents.
Image: The Child Mary Spinning. Peru/Cuzco. 18th Century. 31.125 x 24.875 inches. Oil on canvas. Collection of Carl and Marilynn Thoma.