Paper Botany: A Closer Examination of Botanical Illustrations from the Trujillo del Peru

Date

2024

Authors

Moore, Lauren Elizabeth

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Abstract

This thesis examines the botanical illustrations from facsimiles of volumes three, four, and five of the Trujillo del Peru, compiled by Spanish bishop Baltasar Jaime Martí­nez Compañón from 1782 to 1785. They are examined from an art historical and ethnobotanical perspective to expand on the significance of the volumes' contents, particularly on matters of cultural erasure and huacas (an object, place, or other subject which represents manifestation of life force). To accomplish this, this research contextualizes these illustrations in the extensive history and cultural context of the Spanish Royal Botanical Expeditions and post-conquest Peru. This includes inconsistent enforcement of the Extirpation visitas and the iconoclasm of Andean cultural artefacts. Documentary artworks similar to the Trujillo del Peru, such as Guamán Poma's El primer nueva corónica and Lequanda and Thiebaut's Quadro de Historia Natural, Civil y Geográfica del Reyno del Perú form a small genre which the Trujillo del Peru can be inserted. The Trujillo del Peru's watercolors are also compared with the concurrent botanical surveys of Ruiz-Pavón (1778-1788) and Mutis (1783-1808). I argue that the botanical volumes are historically and culturally significant as they demonstrate a profound Indigenous Andean knowledge of the natural world and, as such, an epistemological and philosophical departure from the base principles of scientific collections.

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Keywords

botanical, huacas, illustrations, Trujillo del Peru

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Department

Art and Art History