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Chungará (Arica)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7356


HORTA TRICALLOTIS, Helena. THE CHIN ADORNMENT OF THE HIGHLAND LORDS AS A SYMBOL OF HISTORICAL CONTINUITY AND ETHNIC EMBLEM IN THE SOUTHERN ANDES (500-1600 AD). Chungará (Arica) [online]. 2016, vol.48, n.3, pp.365-382.  Epub 09-Ago-2016. ISSN 0717-7356.

This work explores the ambit of metal personal insignias or adornments -present in both archaeological evidence and documentary sources- worn by lords in the altiplano over a prolonged period of time which appears to extend from the Middle to the Late period, and even into the Early Colonial. Review of the iconography and comparison with archaeological material in the form of specimens collected in different parts of the Andes provide evidence of the extended use of an Andean system of metal insignias which seem to have denoted both political and religious power simultaneously, through the shared use of these insignias. One of these examples is the insignia in the form of a double -or triple- crescent moon, which the Colla lords are consistently shown wearing throughout the work of Guaman Poma de Ayala. The insignia in question seems to have transferred the power of the huaca (or ancestors) to lords or curacas, in a sort of "corporalisation" and transfer of religious power to the political ambit. This analysis is based on mentions by Ramos Gavilan and Murua of the use by important altiplano personages of "gold patens on their beards" at the Aucaycusqui Intiraymi festival; this information is significant, since it states expressly that the place where the insignia was worn was "on their beards", which must be understood to mean on the chin as we see in Guaman Poma’s drawings. An insignia of very similar form can also be detected in Tiawanaku iconography, which may be considered to be a proto-crescent moon, thus suggesting a possible time-scale for this item. The proposal is based on the triangulation of textual information, material remains and iconographic analysis, delving into the symbolic and temporal scope of this insignia in the altiplano, as well as its possible historical continuity and validity as an ethnic emblem for more than one thousand years.

Palabras clave : Pre-Hispanic metal insignias; Bolivian altiplano; identity; historical continuity; illustrated chronicles.

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