Inca Noblewoman

Inca Noblewoman

c. 1850-1870
Locale
Cuzco, Peru
Country
Peru
painting
Oil paint on canvas
Gift of Dr. Belinda Straight by exchange and New World Department Acquisition Funds
1996.18

Unknown Artist, Peru, Inca Noblewoman, c. 1850-1870
Denver Art Museum Collection: Gift of Dr. Belinda Straight by exchange and New World Department Acquisition Funds, 1996.18
Photograph courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

Dimensions
image height: 18.063 in, 45.8800 cm; image width: 14.875 in, 37.7825 cm; frame height: 25 in, 63.5000 cm; frame width: 21 3/4 in, 55.2450 cm; frame depth: 2 1/4 in, 5.7150 cm
Inscription
Spanish text in cartouche in LLC; gallery label on verso.
Department
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Collection
Latin American Art

This painting is a posthumous portrait of an ancestor, undoubtedly commissioned by her descendants in the late colonial period to assert their claims to Inca nobility.
     The inscription claims that she was the first Christian Inca woman in the Andes and that when a man tried to violate her vow of chastity, she fought and beheaded him. In doing so, she recreated a feat credited to Mama Occllo, the first queen of the Inca dynasty, who conquered Cuzco by decapitating an enemy. Her deed also echoes that of the Old Testament’s Judith, who saved the Jewish nation by beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes.
--Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Gift of Dr. Belinda Straight by exchange and New World Department Acquisition Funds. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.

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