5913 - Hybrid cartography: chorographic representations of New Spain

Indigenous and colonial Hispanic cartography in the last quarter of sixteenth century was a hybrid representation with antithesis and similarities between local and universal knowledge, European and Indian culture, imperial and colonial ideology, native and imported art. Chorographic maps of American areas were heterogeneous images of two very different worlds made by native artisans with European education. Maps of New Spain were made up of pre-Hispanic tradition pictorial details and European systems of representation. European cartography and native painting coexist in the pinturas . On the one hand, Spanish colonist offered a chorographic form of representation based on Ptolemy. On the other hand, native artists gave meaning to the image without losing the features of their culture. While these maps were a process acculturation sign suffered by Amerindian people, many of their values were unaltered. Identity elements of the Indian community were mixed with the values of the conquest. Recipients of these images were not native Amerindian leaders, but Renaissance princes. In these images, the apparent objectivity of representation in the imitation of reality process was only a mirage. Ideology concealed the mathematical data of representation. Hybrid ontology of the pinturas made them bipolar representations. Pinturas was simple maps in geometric terms, inaccurate, pragmatic and descriptive. Pinturas also were loaded with symbolism, very significant iconographic details about two distant cultures. We do not know the adequacy level of the pinturas in the context of Universal Monarchy, but we can conclude these chorographic maps have the ability to dissect the entrails of Spanish bureaucratic structure. In this sense, Spanish Crown imagined cartographic representation of the New World from a utopian perspective. In short, the study of Indies pinturas shows how the model, techniques and land vision responded to the Habsburgs’ imperial policy and the Philip’s II universal and messianic ideology.

Palabras claves: indigenous, metropolis, corography, Pintura

Autores: Sánchez, Antonio (Centro Interuniversitário de História das Ciências e da Tecnologia, Universidade de Lisboa, Spain / Spanien)


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