Chapter 1[ edit ] The first chapter records the sequence of principal huacas. Huacas would battle for this title, which allowed them to transmit life force to humans. They were overthrown by Huallallo Carhuincho, who was the first to transmit life force to humans. In his time, the region had red and yellow parrots, the harvest could take place five days after sowing, and people would come back to life five days after dying. This reincarnation meant that the population grew rapidly and people had to migrate into the mountains to find a place to live.

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How the Sun Disappeared for Five Days. How Paria Caca Ascended. How People Danced the Chanco Dance. Mama Chapter Chapter Here Begins the Life of Llocllay Huancupa. George L. Urioste is professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

It unfolds the splendor of ceremonies that prehispanic priests devoted to a landscape alive with the diverse sacred beings called huacas.

Nothing else in all the sources from which we seek the Andean "vision of the vanquished" Wachtel rivals it for immediacy, strangeness, and beauty.

But the voices we hear in its pages do not relay to us a verbatim record of what was said and believed before the Spanish invasion. It is true that when Father Francisco de Avila reworked part of the same or similar testimony to make his Treatise on the False Gods Yet the way people recalled their ancient tradition and the occasion of their recalling it were themselves facets of a colonial situation the tellers had already endured throughout their whole lives.

The telling could not but be influenced by the seventy preceding years of colonial turbulence, during which one potent innovation was the art of writing itself. Andean peoples used no writing before the Spanish "Vira Cochas" arrived. So the process of capturing their culture as text in the alphabet of the padres and bureaucrats was inextricably bound up with forced conversion and persecution, even when the actual authors were themselves Andean and the actual narrators at least partly faithful to the old huacas.

The manuscript is a complex composite testimony of these changes as well as a compendium of ancient memories. The research it contains was apparently sponsored by a clerical persecutor, Father Francisco de Avila, who seems to have used it as secret intelligence for his assault on American deities from onward. The text does contain opportune denunciations of "idols" as the Spanish called the sacred beings of the Andes and of those who steadfastly fed and served them in secret long after official conversion.

Yet at least one of the actual makers of the text seems to have thought of the task as one of historical remembrance. The untitled preface to the manuscript looks to a future in which the ancient deities would be remembered with pride, promising a monument of Andean greatness to match Spanish chronicles: If the ancestors of the people called Indians had known writing in earlier times, then the lives they lived would not have faded from view until now.

As the mighty past of the Spanish Vira Cochas is visible until now, so, too, would theirs be. But since things are as they are, and since nothing has been written until now, I set forth here the lives of the ancestors of the Huaro Cheri people, who all descend from one forefather; What faith they held, how they live until now, those things and more. Village by village it will all be written down: how they lived from their dawning age onward.

One gets a strong impression that the creator of these lines was engaged in reconceptualizing the Andean mythic tradition rather than destroying its memory. The exact process of composition is unknown, but this passage differs from the wholeheartedly anti-Andean viewpoint that Avila expressed in other writings. It may contain the words of a native writer or editor to whom Avila gave some leeway in compiling the text. A measure of unselfconscious candor would have increased its intelligence value.

Whether or not he was present at its composition, Avila did read and annotate at least part of it; his devastating subsequent attacks on the deities mentioned suggest that the stratagem of leaving the witnesses some freedom of expression succeeded. Whoever composed the untitled preface thought of the manuscript as a totalizing book about inherited tradition, custom, and lifeways that would give Andean memory, like Spanish literate memory, immortal visibility.

Clearly the testimonies are products of a culture in which orality encompassed the weightiest functions of language. But the book is not conceived simply as a body of speech on paper. It partakes of the assumption that written language, and specifically book language, should subsume and subordinate orality. The conception of a totalizing book that underlies the manuscript seems to be influenced at one or more levels by the Hebrew or Old Testament Bible and to some extent by the New Testament.

Of course, few Indians studied the Vulgate. In the late sixteenth century, both officially promulgated catechetical summaries and popularized summaries of Bible stories called historias sagradas were widely read by or read to laypeople.

Literate Indians c. Although the manifest content of the manuscript only rarely syncretizes biblical material with Andean, the text as a whole has an "astonishingly Biblical" overall architecture Turner Like the Bible, the manuscript begins with myths that contrast the human condition with an imagined alternative, a time when the relations between humans and deity were radically different chaps.

A flood myth chap. Its collective subject is a set of groups, each of which considered itself the progeny of a focalized ancestor. As with the biblical tribes, these groups relate to each other, at least in ideology, approximately as a phratry. As in the biblical redactions, their disparate traditions of origin and separate cults have been welded ex post facto onto the unifying argument of kinship and imperfectly articulated with apical priestly cults. Their story, like that of the biblical tribes, is intensely concerned with control over specific resources in a sacralized landscape; many of its myths encode political struggles with surrounding peoples and even internecine struggles as mythic combats with superhuman intervention.

Also like the Bible, the manuscript is greatly concerned with the relation between the local sacra and the leaders and priests of immense invading empires—first the Inca, later the Spanish. The manuscript shares the biblical tendency to accrete genre within genre. Texts about priesthood, sacrifice, ritual law, and prophecy jostle with vernacular myth, claims concerning land and water, and mythicized remembrance of historic events. Bits of oracular response, religious formulas, and perhaps songs have become embedded in the text, too.

And finally, as in the Bible, particularly the Deuteronomic books and later prophets, one clearly senses the pressure of contemporary political defeat on religious testimony. We do not know all the reasons for the resemblances. One possibility is that Father Avila imposed European opinions on the text itself or indirectly on others who processed it for example, by preparing a questionnaire or by overseeing the editing.

The person who arranged or edited the myths expressed frustration at the difficulty of arranging episodes into one scheme of chronology e. This literal-minded historicist reading of myth, which seems misleading to modern readers, was then thought to be a correct way of restoring American data to their "true" place in a unified world scheme of salvation history.

But above and beyond this exogenous process, the myths themselves seem Bible-like in their style of mythifying. Perhaps the likeness is multilayered or overdetermined: it may result in part from intea-Andean facts distinguishable from the European influences that also affected it. Such forms of synthesis may arise endogenously in societies of a certain scale, setting, and organizational form.

There is a third possibility for explaining the biblical parallel. After seven decades of exposure to European culture, Andean people had consciously or unconsciously gone far in reconceptualizing their mythology as a systematic response to imposed belief.

By this reconceptualization seems to have coalesced into a distinctive ideology. Andean literati of the first generation born after conquest—Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala and Joan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti Yamqui Salcamaygua—were not simple nativists; they partook of a Renaissance consensus in arguing that Andean people had already passed through ages of antiquity strictly parallel to those of pre-Christian biblical antiquity.

But they dissented from the Spanish in their evaluation of the Andean achievement as a part of it. Where writers like Avila, Cabello Valboa, or Antonio de Calancha saw in Andean myth only a deteriorated and diabolically confused memory of original connections with biblical humanity, and therefore a culture worthy of being forgotten, some native intellectuals believed their history and its memory to be not only parallel with that of the Spanish, but equal in value.

The theories of these bicultural "native chroniclers" shored up waning hopes of Andean privilege under Christian rule and appear characteristic of Andean natives descended from noble families but deprived of colonial power. And what of those who actually told the myths to the book creators? What revisions of religious thought had occurred among less bicultural natives during these decades? It is important to remember that by the date when the manuscript was written the cults of the huacas had coexisted with Christianity for a whole lifetime.

It is possible that by local thinkers and perhaps priests had been engaged consciously or not in remobilizing and reconceptualizing the inheritance of huaca religion so as to construe it as a religion, a "faith" as the preface to the manuscript says, using the Spanish word whose overall claims and dimensions could bear comparison with those of the imposed church. It is not beyond possibility that the welding of the Andean deities into a unified kindred partook of post efforts.

Individual huaca myths seem to accord the huaca cults many of the same attributes as Christian religion: for example, a covenantal concept of obligation, an image of superhuman action as law giving, a notion of history as the continuing interaction of deity and society, and a tendency to express "moral economy" norms in terms of prophetic action. As has been suggested, it is likely that any or all of these may be overdetermined facts, arising, from preexisting, and now remobilized, prototypes in aboriginal culture as well as from European models.

Perhaps there would have been an Andean story like the rescue of Isaac even if Spaniards had never invaded. Despite the importance of all these factors, in the end nothing could be more wrong than to think of the manuscript as merely an Andean counter-Bible. For one thing, obviously, the mythic material overall is radically foreign to Europe; few books in the world give the Western reader such a powerful sense of encountering a cultural unknown.

Another and more fundamental reason is that the structuring of myth—the formal architecture of event and process that gives each story internal regularity and resolution—owes everything to Andean patterns and resembles biblical ones little if at all.

The dominant model in the stories is that of passage from mere difference for example, the juxtaposition of antagonistic deities strange to each other to complementary difference for example, a revised juxtaposition in which the deities become male and female spouses or siblings embodying opposite ecological principles.

To imagine this pattern consistently applied to the battles of biblical Adonai is difficult. Comparison with non-Andean South American material a task scarcely begun may offer another path to the isolation of underlying prehispanic content.

Andean religion and "Inca religion" Much of what is published especially in English about prehispanic and colonial Andean religion treats the terms "Inca" and "Andean" as near synonyms. This idea still absorbs modern scholars captivated by the sophistication of Tawantinsuyu, the Inca Empire.

The Incas partly persuaded nonInca Andean people, too. As we learn from chapters 18, 19, 20, 22, and 23, the Incas tried to reorganize local cults into a hierarchy capped by Inca numina, and partly succeeded.

Indeed, their persuasions lasted longer than their sovereignty. By the midcolonial era, when Inca rule had receded into the golden mists of ideological nostalgia, many Peruvian Indians themselves came to recall the deified Sun and his incarnation the Inca god-king as compelling symbols of native identity and native glory Flores Galindo Worship usually focused on sacred beings peculiar to particular kin groups, villages, mountains, canals, and so forth.

In fact, religious particularism, expressed in terms of place and descent, lies at the heart of much Andean myth.

No doubt discourse of this sort can embody philosophical concerns, no less readily than overtly metaphysical expressions do. But the content is only available by a route that leads through the study of what particular places or mummies etc. Other traditions—the lordly priesthood of the Incas, the onset of Catholicism—are seen through the filter of such local and regional concerns. Some of the ritual complexes and myths attached to local features—especially to springs, lakes, and canals—have survived with great vitality into modern times and have been studied by ethnographers Gelles ; Ortiz Rescaniere But it is possible after all to exaggerate the local quality of the myths.

Paria Caca was not uniquely the deity of the peoples who speak here; he and his sanctuary were renowned throughout a wide swath of the central and southern Andes. It is likely that, when worshipers from Llacsa Tambo went on pilgrimage to him, they met worshipers from many other places and that their own practice had something in common with that of different kinds of "people called Indians.

With the possible exception of the two unnumbered chapters here called supplements I and II, it seems to be a fair copy edited and in the process of further editing for coherence as a unified narrative. The unification is, however, in many respects incomplete and imperfect. Recollections of past ritual practice and interpolated bits of current ethnographic observation further complicate the text by introducing into many narrations, with specious smoothness, references to times other than the time of the main narrated story.

Moreover, the manuscript is full of second thoughts cross-outs and interlineations, marginalia , tangents, overlaps, cross-references, marginal queries probably by Father Avila , and cryptic allusions. For all these reasons, to appreciate the coherence of a theme one often must pull together partial accounts from disparate chapters. For this purpose the index supplied by the translators may be useful.

Early times and peoples The preface untitled in the original promises to tell the achievements and beliefs of "the people called Indians" from their "dawning age" up to the present, village by village.


Huarochirí Manuscript



The Huarochiri Manuscript: A Testament of Ancient and Colonial Andean Religion



The Huarochirí Manuscript


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