Coins, Beads, and Necklaces: On Light, Brilliance, and Sacredness in the Northern Andes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper explores the profoundly material dimensions of Andean Catholicism, an aspect that has been under-examined by anthropological inquiries of the Catholic expansion in the “New World”, and its role in developing a unique Andean “material” ontology. Recent discussions on the inseparability of mind and matter in Andean worldviews manifest their embodiment of mind and matter by a shared matrix of animated substance, with all materials being attributed some kind of potency and agency. My paper presents the analysis of a specific form of jewelry, namely necklaces that combine colored beads, coins, and Catholic items, showing that in the area of fieldwork sacredness and its multiple manifestations are located in the world of Christianity, and manifested through specific materials associated with “light”. Here—as elsewhere in the Andes—“enlightened” materials, imbued with the quality of radiance and brilliance, are material manifestations and sources of “the divine”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-598
Number of pages22
JournalMaterial Religion
Volume15
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019

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