Walks the author
The iconography of Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala in his "New Chronicle and Good Government"

In 1615, the indigenous chronicler Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala dated and delivered in Lima a voluminous manuscript of 1188 pages, including 398 full-page drawings, under the title Nueva crónica y buen gobierno.The author stated that he was eighty years old, which means that he was born shortly after the beginning of the conquest of Peru (1532). After an eventful journey, the manuscript, which was addressed to King Philip III of Spain, ended up in the Royal Library in Copenhagen. In 1908, the German Richard Pietschmann discovered it there, and in 1936, the Institute of Ethnology in Paris, under the direction of Paul Rivet, produced the first facsimile edition.

The purpose of the work cannot be more explicit. Huaman Poma wanted to give an illustrated and written testimony of Andean history and culture, and he also wanted to inform the king of the problems and sufferings faced by “the natives” then faced in order for the monarch to intervene on his behalf.

Although varying the original sizes, this exhibition reproduces in a series of panels all the pages illustrated with the drawings of the manuscript. On its importance, researcher Rolena Adorno says: “If the reader stops at each of the 398 drawings and reads the prose texts that accompany them, it will be evident to him that this method – in which the visual text precedes the verbal text – was, for Huaman Poma, not only his system of composition but the core of the conception of his work. The images anticipate, dramatize and “present” the contents of the book; they are the primary text of the work, not the secondary “illustrations” (…)”.

In its apparent simplicity, the exhibition allows us to appreciate the documentary richness and shocking forcefulness of the iconographic work of Huaman Poma, an indispensable source for the knowledge of the Andean civilisation and courageous allegation against abuses and inequalities, in the midst of the profound and dramatic transformations that Peru was undergoing at the time.

Exhibition organised by the Centro Cultural Inca Garcilaso of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru.

Curated by Alonso Ruiz Rosas (Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Peru in Madrid), in collaboration with Gredna Landolt (Curator of the Centro Cultural Inca Garcilaso of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru).

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