Material Encounters: Knotting Cultures in Early Modern Peru and Spain

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This article discusses the early modern nexus between feather-work and textiles with a focus on Spanish Peru. Whilst Peruvian feather-work has been defined as pre-Columbian, this article presents new textual, visual, and material evidence that shows its significance in the material culture of colonial Peru, which serves to initiate a broader debate on the dynamics of cultural encounters in the Ibero-American world. I chart the development of craft cultures beyond the moment of the Spanish conquest of the Americas by discussing Peruvian practices of feather manufacturing in relation to the production and usage of textiles in early modern Spain. This approach, I argue, will enable a reconsideration of the dynamics of the Spanish Empire, whose centres and peripheries were linked through circulating objects that constituted a shared material world. In the particular case of feather-work, this was a world that jointly valued the aesthetics of knots and the intricacy of knotting.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-615
JournalThe Historical Journal
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2019

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