Digital Resources: Guaman Poma’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno
Summary and Keywords
Recorded in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2007, Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (1615) offers remarkable glimpses into ancient Andean institutions and traditions as well as those of colonialized Andean society in the Spanish viceroyalty of Peru. Housed at the Royal Library of Denmark since the 1660s and first published in photographic facsimile in 1936, the autograph manuscript (written and drawn by its author’s own hand) has been the topic of research in Andean studies for several decades. Prepared by an international team of technicians and scholars, the digital facsimile was placed online on the newly created Guaman Poma Website at the Royal Library in 2001. Thanks to its free global access, research has accelerated, offering new and ongoing challenges in such fields as history, art history, environmental studies, linguistics, literary, and cultural studies in Andeanist, Latin Americanist, and post-colonialist perspectives. The work’s 1,200 pages (of which 400 are full-page drawings) offer Guaman Poma’s novel account of pre-Columbian Andean and modern Spanish conquest history as well as his sometimes humorous but most often harrowing exposé of the activities of all the castes and classes of the colonial society of his day. Guaman Poma’s account reveals how social roles and identities could evolve under colonial rule over the course of a single individual’s lifetime. As a Quechua speaker who learned Spanish, and thus called an “indio ladino” by the colonizers, Guaman Poma’s Quechua-inflected Spanish prose may present reading challenges in both its handwritten form and searchable typeset transcription, but his 400 drawings welcome casual as well as scholarly and student readers into the rooms and onto the roadways of that multi-ethnic—Andean, African, Spanish, and Spanish creole—world.
Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala (c. 1535–50 to c. 1616): Life Story as Research Resource
Guaman Poma’s life story illustrates the challenges that arose in the early colonial period for members of the first generation of ethnic Andeans born in Peru after the Spanish conquest in the 1530s.1 The record of that experience is contained in his Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (see Figure 1) as well as in his legal petitions and a brief letter he wrote to the Spanish monarch, informing him that he had written a book that he would send to him—upon the king’s request. Guaman Poma’s writings reveal how indigenous Americans made a place for themselves in the mixed, colonial and indigenous, society to which Spanish colonialism subjected them. In recording the transformations of outlook that defined his personal experience, he offers insight into that of other native-born Amerindian subjects who occupied the liminal space between native Amerindian and colonial Spanish societies. For its illustrative value, his personal history is detailed here.
Guaman Poma earned his livelihood in ways that were typical of Andeans who had learned Spanish and thus could negotiate between Andeans and non-Andeans: Spaniards, Spanish creoles (individuals born in America of European parentage), mestizos of mixed Spanish/Andean blood and culture, and enslaved black Africans. His story is also that of a seemingly ordinary individual who accomplished an extraordinary feat in writing his startling chronicle of Andean history (Nueva corónica, that is, “new chronicle”) followed by his bold, comprehensive treatise on colonial reform (buen gobierno, or “good government”).2
From mitmaq to forastero: Ancestral Legacy, Colonial Consequences
The relationship between Guaman Poma’s itinerant life and the writing of his book can be understood by considering his ancestral background and how its prerogatives were transformed after the Spanish conquest. Guaman Poma was descended from mitmaqkuna. In Inca times, these were members of ethnic communities sent out with special privileges by the Inca to settle areas the Incas had recently conquered, to provide military garrisons along the vulnerable eastern borders of the kingdom, or to populate potentially productive but uncultivated lands. Their duties were to facilitate the local communities’ assimilation into the Inca empire, primarily by imposing the solar religion and the Quechua language. Guaman Poma’s mitmaq ancestors originated in Huánuco; they were members and heirs of the Yarovilca dynasty that predated the Incas and were sent to settle in Huamanga when the Inca conquered or reconquered that area in the 15th century.3 Under Spanish rule, the status and prestige of mitmaqkuna suffered a sharp decline: the ambassadorial settlers who in earlier times represented the Inca’s power and prestige and carried out his imperial mission were now viewed as simple newcomers, outsiders to the communities they inhabited.
This was a precarious situation for families and clans like those of Guaman Poma because the Spanish colonial regime invented distinctions to differentiate among migrant groups. In the 1570s, the administration of the Spanish viceroy of Peru, Francisco de Toledo (1569–1581), divided indigenous peoples into two clearly defined categories: (1) originarios: native-born members of traditional Andean settlements, called ayllu, which constituted the basic kin unit of native Andean society that held title to collective lands, organized cooperative labor teams, and carried out other collective functions; and (2) forasteros: migrants, outsiders. In relation to the latter, the Quechua-language term yana (plural: yanakuna), which morphed in Spanish into “yanacona,” referred to Andeans who were detached from their ayllu affiliations and lived in the service of Spanish colonists, most often in cities. Anyone branded a yanacona was, in the eyes of the colonizer, effectively stripped of his or her ethnic origin and identity. A little later, colonial officials attempted to make further distinctions.4 The result was a hodgepodge; ethnic identities were disrupted and native Andeans often had to improvise forms of self-identification to keep up with the pigeonholing to which they were assigned by colonial authorities. The Nueva corónica y buen gobierno manuscript reveals Guaman Poma’s own such improvisation.
When Guaman Poma set out to defend his claims to ancestral lands that he claimed near the colonial city of Huamanga, he identified himself in legal petitions as both a member of the local native elite (“cacique prencipal”) and as an appointee of the Spanish colonial government (“gobernador de los indios y administrador de la provincia de los Lucanas”).5 Later, in the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno, he called himself an “administrator, Indians’ advocate, deputy of the administrator of the colonial district” and “capac ques prencipe,” or “qhapaq, which means prince,” in the latter case elevating his rank from the more modest one of local ethnic lord. He likewise elevated references to his male forebears from “cacique prencipal” to “capac ques prencipe” and his mother, “Juana Aua, coya, nieta,” becomes “Juana Curi Ocllo, coya, hija,” identifying her as a daughter of the great Tupac Inca Yupanqui.6 Guaman Poma thus enhanced his paternal Yarovilca rank and simultaneously laid claim to Inca lineage via his mother. This served to appeal to his readers, whether they were anti-Inca or pro-Inca in outlook. In general, Guaman Poma’s assertions reflect the attitudes and actions of the Andean provincial elite from the mid-16th century onward. Starting in the 1550s, native lords served as subordinates to Spanish administrators (Guaman Poma’s documented experience is an example), and they continued to compete for positions in the colonial bureaucracy after the reorganization of native society under the viceroy Toledo. They also would have sought to present themselves as Andean elites, whatever their status within their respective ethnic hierarchies.
Interpreter and Litigant
Like many other Andeans in his situation, Guaman Poma participated in the official transactions of civil and ecclesiastic administrations. His activities first come into view for the period of the 1560s through the early 1580s. He writes of having served the ecclesiastical inspector (visitador) Cristóbal de Albornoz, to whom has often been attributed the suppression of the radical nativist movement Taki Onqoy, which preached the return of the Andean gods and the rejection of all things European.7 Like other young Andeans, Guaman Poma was probably taught Spanish and recruited by church personnel so that he could facilitate communication between the Spanish authorities and native communities and assist in uncovering native practices that the missionary church considered idolatrous.
Although he does not picture himself in the drawing, Guaman Poma shows Albornoz supervising the punishment of an Andean man, weeping, as carried out by another Andean member of the priest’s inspection team (see Figure 2). (We may surmise that the man’s tears are occasioned not only by the humiliation of public punishment but by the torture that probably resulted in a forced confession.) Albornoz’s 1568–1570 campaign to the provinces of Soras, Lucanas Laramati, and Lucanas Andamarca probably provided Guaman Poma with his earliest significant exposure to the policies and practices of the missionary church.
During the six-year period from 1594 to 1600, Guaman Poma served as an interpreter and witness in proceedings in Huamanga that confirmed land titles and implemented the policies resulting from the viceroy Toledo’s reducciones (forced resettlement of native communities to areas where their labor was needed by colonial entrepreneurs). Guaman Poma thus became fully acquainted with the world of colonial affairs in which the written word was the essential means by which to document public actions, including demands for the redress of grievances. In the Buen gobierno he repeatedly insists that, like him, other Andean elites must become literate in Spanish to be able to carry out their traditional duties and, importantly, to participate in the Spanish legal system. He makes this point visually (see Figure 3).
During the same six-year period, Guaman Poma was busy with legal pursuits of his own, defending in the courts his and his kin’s rights to lands in the valley of Chupas, just a few leagues from the colonial city of Huamanga. He drew a map to accompany his written petitions and substantiate his claims (see Figure 4). Maps of Peru and the pertinent region locate the city of Huamanga, today Ayacucho (see Figures 5 and 6).
Regrettably for Guaman Poma, however, the legal advocate representing him and his clansmen referred in the court documents to one of Guaman Poma’s relatives as a “yanacona,” which harked back to the stigmatizing designations that turned native Andeans into immigrants in their own land. The reference to—in effect, an accusation of—the status of one of Guaman Poma’s family members as someone detached from the ethnic community cast a shadow over all of them as recent immigrants and potential outsiders to the Huamanga area. If not native to the area, the argument went, then Guaman Poma and his kin were recent immigrants without land rights and, if making false claims to local lands, could be branded as imposters.
That is exactly what happened.8 The legal disputes culminated in his expulsion from Huamanga in 1600, and he went south to the Lucanas area where he had earlier served in the extirpation of idolatries campaign under Albornoz. Guaman Poma’s case illuminates the situation of being designated a forastero and illustrates the principle that “land-tenure cases were among the most hotly contested within the colonial judicial system, and the rising value of land and the shrinking assets of indigenous communities provoked bitter disputes. Migration complicated the debates over land inheritance and titles in ways which were reflected in the courts throughout the seventeenth century.”9
From Apprentice to Author
In Lucanas Guaman Poma illustrated the history of the Incas written by the Mercedarian friar Martín de Murúa, who was a parish priest in the province of Aymaraes located in the present-day Department of Apurimac (see Figures 5 and 6). (For more on Murúa, see “Major Topics and Themes.”) Afterward, upon writing the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno, Guaman Poma presented himself as an adviser to the Spanish king; he depicted this role in a hypothetical interview, visualized as a face-to-face meeting with Philip III in which he holds his chronicle in his left hand as he gesticulates with the right (see Figure 7).
When he finished his illustrated book Guaman Poma wrote a letter to the king, dated it February 14, 1615, at Santiago de Chipao in Lucanas, and traveled over the Andes to Lima to deposit his manuscript book for dispatch to Spain and the royal court in Madrid.10 En route to Lima Guaman Poma discovered the horrors experienced by Andean victims of the most recent Spanish efforts to “extirpate idolatries,” and in the colonial capital he saw native Andeans degraded and living a life of debauchery; this prompted him to add an additional chapter to his already completed manuscript, “Camina el autor,” whose frontispiece is reproduced here (see Figure 8).11
Did Philip III personally receive and read Guaman Poma’s manuscript book? Probably not, although it surely arrived at the Spanish royal court, where it was acquired in the 1650s or 1660s by a Danish diplomat and collector of Spanish books who came upon it while ambassador to the court in Madrid (see “The Nueva corónica y buen gobierno”). Did Guaman Poma believe, to the end, that writing his exposé to the Spanish king would serve the cause of justice and right the wrongs perpetrated against the Andean peoples? His near-final words in “Camina el autor,” suggest that he did not: “There is no god and there is no king. They are in Rome and Castile.”12 Guaman Poma here reveals that he has given up hope: the powerful Spanish authorities imposed in Peru to create a new social order and bring Christianity and its justice to the Andes are nowhere to be found; they neither protect nor ensure the well-being of the exploited Andean peoples. His early occupation as a church inspector’s assistant and in other low-ranking administrative offices, his failed legal disputes in reclaiming ancestral lands, and the devastation he sees all around as he puts down his pen suggest that even the final project of writing his book—pursued as his only avenue of social intervention when all others were closed to him—could not prevail against the precariousness—in his view, the hopelessness—of native Andean life under colonial rule.
Some readers may wonder whether Guaman Poma was the author of the Nueva corónica due to claims made from the mid-1990s to the present. Readers of the works of the 16th- and 17th-century chroniclers who are alleged to have participated in such a bizarre scheme find it implausible, if not impossible. The tale originated with a writer who claimed, in several books printed by a press devoted to the occult, that Don Raimondo di Sangro of Naples, an 18th-century Príncipe de Sansevero, was in direct psychic communication with her and led her to a number of remarkable “finds,” including the claim that the Nueva corónica was authored by a mestizo Jesuit, Blas Valera. Although some scholars have been inclined to lend credence to the claims, two Danish scholars, through painstaking digital and photographic analysis, proved that a pictorial image integral to a supposed “contract” between the historical Guaman Poma and Blas Valera, intended to offer proof of Valera’s authorship, is nothing more than a sloppy tracing of one of Guaman Poma’s drawings as rendered in the Paris edition of 1936.13
The Nueva corónica y buen gobierno: In Copenhagen Since the 1660s
Contrary to the commonly held notion that the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno was unknown prior to Richard Pietschmann’s announcement of its existence in 1908, Guaman Poma’s autograph manuscript has formed part of the library collections of the Danish kings since the 1660s.14 This is a startling realization, although it would not have surprised Richard Pietschmann, the director of the Library of the University of Göttingen, Germany. He was an Egyptologist with Hispanist interests who, in 1906, had published Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa’s 1572 history of the Incas. At the Royal Library in 1908 he was looking specifically for Spanish materials, being aware that “from the second half of the seventeenth century there had been collected in Denmark many documents and much information in manuscript relating to Spain and its Dominions.”15 On that visit he came across the bibliographical entry for the Guaman Poma manuscript in the handwritten catalog of the library’s holdings dated 1784–1786.
The discovery of the manuscript’s still earlier provenance in the Danish royal collections awaited the efforts, in the 1990s, of Harald Ilsøe, a Royal Library research librarian, who discovered that the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno had already appeared in a catalogue of the Royal Library’s holdings dated 1729; further internal evidence indicated that the manuscript had been acquired during the reign of Denmark’s King Frederick III (1648–1670).16 Such early provenance was not a new notion; the indefatigable Peruvian historian Raúl Porras Barrenechea had speculated in 1962 that the Danish diplomat and collector, Cornelius Pedersen Lerche (1615–1681), who served as Danish ambassador to Spain from 1650 to 1655 and again from 1658 to 1662, was the manuscript’s donor.17
During his tenure in Spain, Lerche had acquired many holdings from the library of Don Gaspar de Guzmán (1587–1645), Count-Duke of Olivares, the statesman and principal minister of Spain’s King Philip IV (1621–1665). These acquisitions made Lerche’s Spanish collection unequaled in Denmark at the time. Having been knighted by King Frederick in 1660, Lerche had good reason to pay homage to his sovereign when he returned from Spain at the end of 1662. The Guaman Poma manuscript may have been a well-chosen gift by which to express his gratitude. If so, we wonder if Lerche considered the manuscript to be of potential royal interest for its celebration of imperial Inca pageantry and glory, its testimony to the excesses of Spanish colonialism (ammunition in the ideological war waged between the Protestant countries of northern Europe and the Roman Catholic countries, especially Spain, of the south), or the sheer novelty of its 400 drawings. We will never know with certainty, but a century later, one of the pre-eminent directors of the Royal Library also took an interest in Spanish history and, in fact, in the Nueva corónica manuscript.
Daniel Gotthilf Moldenhawer (1753–1823), the renowned director of the Royal Library from 1788 to 1823, hoped, in 1809, to publish segments of the Nueva corónica in a “Museum” of the Royal Library’s most notable manuscript treasures.18 This series of volumes was slated to include extracts of a codex that included “information on, and samples from, a chronicle of Peru that includes the history of the Incas and the conquest of this kingdom, with a description of its domestic affairs, illustrated with drawings.”19 This account can be taken as the earliest notice of the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno to appear in print. Had Moldenhawer’s project come to fruition, Guaman Poma’s manuscript would have become known a full century before Pietschmann’s announcement, which was published in the bulletin of the Royal Society of Göttingen in 1908.20
The next landmark year was 1936, when L’Institut d’Ethnologie of the University of Paris published the first edition of the manuscript, a photographic facsimile of the whole. Regrettably, it was flawed because its editors in Paris attempted to correct, by rewriting, illegible words and passages and resketched obscured features of drawings.21 Except for the Murra-Adorno-Urioste print editions of 1980 and 1987, the textual transcription of which was based directly on the autograph manuscript, all other print editions to that date worked from the Paris facsimile. The digital facsimile produced by the Royal Library in 2001, augmented in 2004, has definitively replaced the Paris edition.
Development of the Digital Resource: An International Collaboration
In the 1990s the Royal Library started making plans to digitize the autograph manuscript. In 2000, when the technology was right (that is, when digitization became feasible because new “cool” lighting would not damage the manuscript), the Royal Library’s director general, Erland Kolding Nielsen, gave his authorization to move forward. Ivan Boserup, head of the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books, conceived the project and was responsible for all aspects of its direction and coordination from that moment forward until his retirement from the Royal Library in 2016.
The Guaman Poma website is the result of an international collaboration. At the Royal Library under Boserup’s supervision, the digitization, design, and implementation of the Internet edition were carried out by Bruno Svindborg, chief of the Photographic Atelier and research librarian in the Manuscript Department. Image control, enhancement, and storage were done by Jørgen Byberg Hansen, assistant in the Department of Digitization and Web Publishing; Peter Nyboe Rasmussen, IT consultant in the same department, was responsible for further enhancements.
In the United States, Rolena Adorno of Yale University served as the project’s scholarly consultant. Adorno headed the team, consisting of John Charles and Fernanda Macchi, now on the faculty of Tulane and McGill Universities, respectively, to create navigational aids for the digital edition. They prepared, in English and in Spanish, a complete, chapter-by-chapter table of contents of the manuscript as well as a complete table of drawings, organized according to the chapters of the manuscript so that their immediate formal and substantive context would be preserved. (Too often, the drawings are separated out as if they bear no relationship to the prose text, but the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno is a carefully integrated whole, and readers should always be aware of that fact.)
In Mexico City, the General Manager of Siglo Veintiuno Editores, Guadalupe Ortiz Elguea authorized the inclusion on the Guaman Poma website of the Onomastic/Toponymic and Ethnological Indices, as well as the Glossary-Index of Guaman Poma’s Quechua texts, that accompany the Murra-Adorno-Urioste, Siglo Veintiuno edition.22 The Royal Library’s Guaman Poma website went “live” on May 15, 2001.
Structure, Organization, and Functionality of the Royal Library’s Guaman Poma Website
In 2004, again thanks to the collaboration of Siglo Veintiuno Editores and with the cooperation of John V. Murra, Rolena Adorno, and Jorge L. Urioste, the complete transcription of Guaman Poma’s prose text and its remaining critical apparatus (their textual annotations and Urioste’s rephonologization of Guaman Poma’s Quechua texts) were added to the website. The transcription, as it now appears on the Royal Library’s website, was further corrected by Adorno and Boserup in 2002 and 2004.
The general criteria for the text’s transcription reproduced that of Murra and Adorno in the 1980 and 1987 print editions. Guaman Poma’s flawed pagination was corrected by accompanying it with bracketed numbers that correspond to the actual, consecutive pages of the manuscript, thus 1, but 154 and so forth; Guaman Poma repeated the number 154 and subsequently made errors in enumeration throughout the remaining one thousand pages of his manuscript.23 Readers today often cite Guaman Poma’s work by using the abbreviation “fol.” for “folio.” But Guaman Poma, taking a modern approach, employed the newer convention of printed books and numbered his manuscript by pages. (Sheets of paper, if numbered only on one side, are called “folios”; sheets of paper, when numbered on both sides, are identified as “pages.”) Guaman Poma’s orthography has been respected (not modernized, as in most print editions), but modern punctuation and accentuation have been added to render Guaman Poma’s unpunctuated prose more readable. Upper- and lower-case letters have been employed according to modern usage; contractions have been preserved, and Spanish abbreviations that are no longer in use have been spelled out.
The explanatory annotation prepared by Murra, Adorno, and Urioste was augmented in 2004 by Adorno and Boserup. Thus, for example, in the print editions of 1980 and 1987, page 1 of the Nueva corónica manuscript includes two footnotes, both of which pertain to the page’s contents (Guaman Poma’s literary sources), while the website’s page 1 features five footnotes, the additional three referring to the autograph manuscript’s form (compositional and graphic features). On the website, all notes appear on the same page as the transcribed text, which appears alongside the digital facsimile of the manuscript page. The accompanying bibliography consists of the sources cited in the annotations.
Murra, Adorno, and Urioste prepared essays to accompany the respective editions of 1980 and 1987. Anticipating a specialized, Latin Americanist audience for the Mexican edition of 1980, their objectives were to offer ethnological (Murra) and linguistic (Urioste) treatments of the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno’s contents as well as to describe the process of Guaman Poma’s composition and emendation of his manuscript (Adorno). For the broader, general readership projected for the Madrid edition of 1987, they presented essays on the life and work of Guaman Poma (Adorno), his outlook on the Andean world of past and present (Murra), and the variety of his Quechua texts and the character of his written Spanish (Urioste). Both sets of essays are available on the Guaman Poma website.
The most outstanding feature of the Guaman Poma website is the high-resolution digitization of the autograph manuscript. This is especially significant for Guaman Poma’s hundreds of drawings. Their digital reproduction makes it possible to see the delicacy of line and detail that are impossible to perceive in the multi-generational copies of the 1936 photographic facsimile that have appeared in all print editions to date.
Major Topics and Themes of the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno
The first scholarly approaches to the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno mined it for information about the pre-Columbian Andean world; it was valued for its ethnohistorical content and viewed as the work of an ethnographic informant. This approximation prevailed from the 1930s, when the Paris photographic facsimile edition appeared, through the 1960s, and it spawned pioneering studies such as those of Julio C. Tello, José Varallanos, Arturo Posnansky, Waldemar Espinoza Soriano, John V. Murra, Ramiro Condarco Morales, Augusto Cardich, Edmundo Guillén Guillén, Juan Ossio, Nathan Wachtel, and Franklin Pease. In the early 1970s, an additional perspective emerged: Guaman Poma was seen not only as an ethnographic informant but also as an author in his own right. From this angle of vision came a new level of understanding: The Nueva corónica was a work designed to inform the king of Spain about affairs in colonial Peru and to recommend to the monarch myriad ways to reform its civil and ecclesiastical governance to spare the peoples of the Andes from further abuse and destruction.
In his efforts to achieve these goals, Guaman Poma enlisted all the topics and themes (and ways of representing them) that we, as specialized scholars or simply as curious readers, are interested in knowing about. To be persuasive, Guaman Poma’s goal was to demonstrate that he was knowledgeable about the political, economic, social, and ritual organization of Andean society, past and present: its civil and ecclesiastical institutions, its agricultural economy, and its mathematical and mechanical arts. Guaman Poma thus created a detailed survey of all the institutions of pre-Hispanic Andean society, and he complemented it with a highly critical, disturbing account of Spanish colonial society of his own day. The sheer breadth and scope of Guaman Poma’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno are what make it, literally, one of a kind, not only for Andean studies but for all areas of study interested in native Amerindian peoples living under Spanish colonialism.
Its vastness is best understood by comparing it to the histories of Murúa, for whose history of the Incas in its first version (the Galvin Manuscript) Guaman Poma created more than ninety drawings, starting no earlier than 1596 and finishing after 1600.24 He copied a flowery sentence from one of Murúa’s unused drafts as a model of epistolary protocol for writing to royalty and also to emphasize his own reliance on the visual medium.25 In this aspect, he clearly took Murúa’s work as a partial model for his own.26 But Guaman Poma’s program far exceeded Murúa’s, and in the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno he created more than 200 pictures of post-Inca Peru that were not intended to please the king but rather to shock him (see Figures 9 and 10). Like Murúa, Guaman Poma entreated the king to publish his book, but he did so less for its quaint charm as a history of the Incas than for the harshness of its illustration of the need for colonial reform.27
As a digital resource and as a living monument that transcends the time of its creation, Guaman Poma’s work is relevant to the topic of cultural heterogeneity, both then and now.28 In his own day, Guaman Poma was one of its exemplars. Perhaps his deepest understanding of this conundrum is expressed by his use of two phrases: “indio ladino” and “hechicero falso.” The clever “ladino Indian,” that is, the native somewhat assimilated to Spanish language and customs, could be so called in praise or with scorn, seen either as an exemplary Christian native or a “uellaco ladinejo,” a “busybody ladino jerk.”29 (It is not surprising that Guaman Poma never used the term to describe himself.) “Hechicero falso,” or “false shaman,” is more striking. It was Guaman Poma’s way to describe someone who took on the guise of a bona fide traditional healer for corrupt, self-serving ends.30 Both utterances capture Guaman Poma’s understanding of the internal conflicts and contradictions of cultural heterogeneity. Yet in the attempt to approach the complexity of lived experience of times long past (or of those today to which we are outsiders), we are cautioned, as Frank Salomon has advised, to respect that which we cannot entirely know.31
Discussion of Related Research Tools
The Nueva corónica y buen gobierno is a remarkable resource for research—and also for teaching—in the areas of Latin American history, literature, art, and culture. For the classroom, the Guaman Poma website is a readily accessible resource. The drawings alone provide an extraordinarily rich archive of material on the widest possible range of topics, from Inca roads and bridges, to Inca rituals, to the figures of Andean and colonial officialdom, to the depiction of Guaman Poma’s life story.32 On the basis of the drawings the course instructor and the student viewer can generate questions about Inca civilization and Spanish colonialism, but for Guaman Poma’s assessment of them it is necessary to examine not only the visual but also the written text. (In some cases Guaman Poma combines an idealized picture of matters as they should be with a shockingly negative account of things as they are.)
For research, the ethnographic information offered by Guaman Poma has served to correct the Cuzco-centric perspective of the majority of European (and Andean) observers during the first century of European occupation. He provides unique insights into the areas of: (1) political administration and the relationship of Inca administration to local community officials; (2) social structure with respect to the domestic unit and the decimal Inca census; (3) traditional land use and agriculture, including the right of access of the individual and his domestic unit to the strategic goods and resources of the ethnic community, as well as to the great variety of simultaneous rights of various groups to lands, herds, and textiles; (4) the place of ethnic lords within the colonial state’s hierarchy; and (5) state religion.33 In the most recent compilations of research, historians, ethnohistorians, literary, linguistic, cultural, and art historians look afresh at such topics as Andean institutions (including their modern transformations), the ecology of the Andes, Inca governance, Spanish conquest-era history, the transformations of native and European sources in Guaman Poma’s hand, his multilingual artistic dexterity, elements of his biography, and aspects of his authorship.34
The visual evidence supporting Guaman Poma’s artistic relationship to the Mercedarian missionary Fray Martín de Murúa is direct and pervasive. Juan Ossio’s discovery of the first version of Murúa’s history of the Incas of Peru, now called the Galvin Manuscript and published in 2004 in facsimile by Testimonio Editores, Madrid, has confirmed Guaman Poma’s artistic participation in that project.35 Singly or taken together, the Galvin Manuscript and Guaman Poma’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno provide opportunities for new research in art history, history, and ethnology. Significant relationships have been discovered between Guaman Poma’s drawings and European visual models, and the importance and complexity of Guaman Poma’s calligraphy has been heralded.36 There is more to be done in these areas.
Guaman Poma’s language has been the topic of intense research, notably by Jorge Urioste, Jean-Philippe Husson, Bruce Mannheim, Jan Szemiński, and Rodolfo Cerrón-Palomino.37
Other recent work has highlighted interdisciplinary connections between Andean textile design and its graphic representation of the political structures and social hierarchies of Inca civilization. Yet, even as his work reveals the ritual use of Inca dress, Guaman Poma takes his pictorial contexts from European models and thus modifies the mythical, ritual, and political intent of his subject matter as well as the historical events in which his subjects play a role.38 Again, cultural heterogeneity is the researcher’s watchword.
Guaman Poma’s organization of the history of humankind in general and of the Andes in particular into nine or ten historical ages has produced debate over whether he drew more from Andean or from European conceptualizations of time, but this, too, can probably best be understood by seeking larger, or alternate, patterns of cultural interaction. The identification of the source of Guaman Poma’s five or six historical ages as Jerónimo de Chaves’s Chronographia, o, Reportorio de los tiempos (1548) illuminates Guaman Poma’s choice of a European model that resonates with his own Andean ideas of time and change as well as his creative integration or manipulation of written and oral sources.39 Frank Salomon offers an important assessment of Guaman Poma’s complex historical and cosmological articulations within the broader context of current ethnohistorical efforts to “transcend habitual dichotomies like ‘myth’ and ‘history’ and to imagine how human continuity appeared when memories were grouped under less familiar premises.”40
Guaman Poma was as much concerned about the future as about the past. In this regard, his appropriation of the juridical principles of the Dominican friar Bartolomé de las Casas (1484–1566) stands out.41 Yet if Guaman Poma placed European juridical concepts at the service of Andean social-political norms and imperatives, work remains to be done on the complex character of Guaman Poma’s juridical thinking that struggles with the conflict between time-honored Andean notions of land tenure and European ideas of private property. At the same time, Guaman Poma’s counsel to the king regarding colonial problems and their potential solutions is consistent with the administrative reports of many civil and church officials as well as with individual and collective petitions presented to the king by ethnic Andean lords and local communities.42 Guaman Poma’s personal intervention in legal actions provides insight into his experience and illuminates the types of juridical activity in which members of his and subsequent generations were engaged; further work in this area is welcomed.
Reconstructing Guaman Poma’s “library” has been the object of continuing effort since the 1970s, and the not-yet-completely-answered query, “What did Guaman Poma read?,” leads naturally to the next one: “How did he acquire the books?” not to mention “How and from whom did he obtain the paper on which to write his own book?” The larger question here concerns the network of activist colleagues and associates of which Guaman Poma was a part. If that network can be reconstructed, even in basic outline, it will be a boon to Andean studies of the colonial period, and to Latin American colonial studies more generally.
Adorno, Rolena. Guaman Poma: Writing and Resistance in Colonial Peru (2nd ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000.Find this resource:
Adorno, Rolena. The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.Find this resource:
Adorno, Rolena, and Ivan Boserup, eds. Unlocking the Doors to the Worlds of Guaman Poma and His Nueva corónica. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2015.Find this resource:
Charles, John. Allies at Odds: The Andean Church and Its Indigenous Agents, 1583–1671. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2010.Find this resource:
Herring, Adam. Art and Vision in the Inca Empire. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2015.Find this resource:
Huayhuaca, José Carlos. Guiones para filmar. Lima, Peru: Fondo Editorial de la Universidad de Lima, 2006.Find this resource:
López-Baralt, Mercedes. Icono y conquista: Guamán Poma de Ayala. Madrid: Hiperión, 1988.Find this resource:
MacCormack, Sabine. Religion in the Andes: Vision and Imagination in Early Colonial Peru. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.Find this resource:
Mills, Kenneth. Idolatry and Its Enemies: Colonial Andean Religion and Extirpation, 1640–1750. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.Find this resource:
Pease García-Yrigoyen, Franklin. Los incas en la colonia, compilado por Nicanor Domínguez Faura. Lima, Peru: Ministerio de Cultura del Perú, 2012.Find this resource:
Ramos, Gabriela, and Yanna Yannakakis, eds. Indigenous Intellectuals: Knowledge, Power, and Colonial Culture in Mexico and the Andes. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.Find this resource:
Schwartz, Stuart B., ed. Implicit Understandings: Observing, Reporting, and Reflecting on the Encounters Between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1994.Find this resource:
Zuidema, R. Tom. Inca civilization in Cuzco. Translated by Jean-Jacques Decoster. Foreword by Françoise Héritier-Augé. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.Find this resource:
(1.) This overview of Guaman Poma’s life and work summarizes Rolena Adorno, Guaman Poma and His Illustrated Chronicle from Colonial Peru: From a Century of Scholarship to a New Era of Reading/Guaman Poma y su crónica ilustrada del Perú colonial: un siglo de investigaciones hacia una nueva era de lectura (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, and The Royal Library, 2001), 27–40 (also available on the Guaman Poma website). The period of Guaman Poma’s birth lies between the late 1530s and the early 1550s and his death in or after 1616, when he made final emendations to his manuscript.
(2.) All citations of the autograph manuscript (Guaman Poma, GKS 2232 4°) give its actual consecutive page numbers; they appear in brackets to differentiate them from Guaman Poma’s flawed pagination (see “Structure, Organization, and Functionality”).
(3.) Pablo Macera, “Introducción,” in Y no ay rremedio, ed. Elías Prado Tello and Alfredo Prado Prado (Lima, Peru: Centro de Investigación y Promoción Amazónica, 1991), 28.
(4.) Ann Wightman, Indigenous Migration and Social Change: The Forasteros of Cuzco, 1570–1720 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1990), 54.
(5.) Prado Tello and Prado Prado, Y no ay rremedio, 338–339.
(6.) These “edits” are visible in the digital facsimile; see Guaman Poma, GKS 2232 4°, [5, 15, 11, 17, 20, 111, 168, 823, 1106].
(7.) Guaman Poma, GKS 2232 4°, [282, 285, 690]; and Rolena Adorno, “Images of Indios Ladinos in Early Colonial Peru,” in Transatlantic Encounters: Europeans and Andeans in the Sixteenth Century, ed. Kenneth J. Andrien and Rolena Adorno (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 239–243.
(8.) See Rolena Adorno, “The Genesis of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno,” Colonial Latin American Review 2 (1993): 53–91 (also available on the Guaman Poma website).
(9.) Wightman, Indigenous Migration, 135.
(10.) Adorno, Guaman Poma and His Illustrated Chronicle, 79–86, contains the English translation, Spanish transcription, and digital facsimile of Guaman Poma’s letter.
(11.) Rolena Adorno, “A Witness unto Itself: The Integrity of the Autograph Manuscript of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (1615–1616),” Fund og Forskning 41 (2002): 76–80 [section 4.2] (also available on the Guaman Poma website).
(12.) Guaman Poma, GKS 2232 4° .
(13.) See Ivan Boserup and Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer, “The Illustrated Contract Between Guaman Poma and the Friends of Blas Valera: A Key Miccinelli Manuscript Discovered in 1998,” in Unlocking the Doors to the Worlds of Guaman Poma and His Nueva corónica, ed. Rolena Adorno and Ivan Boserup (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2015), 19–64.
(14.) This discussion summarizes Rolena Adorno, “Introduction,” in Adorno and Boserup, Unlocking the Doors, 10–15.
(15.) Richard Pietschmann, “Some Account of the Illustrated Chronicle by the Peruvian Indian, D. Felipe Huaman Poma de Ayala,” in Proceedings of the XVIII Session of the International Congress of Americanists (London: Harrison and Sons, 1913), 510.
(16.) Adorno, “A Witness,” 18–23 [section 2.2].
(17.) Raúl Porras Barrenechea, Los cronistas del Perú (1526–1650) y otros ensayos, (Lima, Peru: Banco de Crédito del Perú, 1986), 669.
(18.) Harald Ilsøe, “Lidt gammelt nyt om bibliotekets berømte inkahåndskrift,” Magasin fra Det Kongelige Bibliotek 8, no. 1 (1993): 28–32.
(19.) Moldenhawer’s successor, Erich Christian Werlauff (1823–1861) thus recalls Moldenhawer’s 1809 planned project—Erich Christian Werlauff, Historiske Efterretninger om det store kongelige Bibliothek i Kiøbenhavn (Copenhagen, 1825), 352.
(20.) After Pietschmann’s 1908 announcement, Sir Clements Markham took quick notice; see Markham, The Incas of Peru (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1910), 19. In his landmark study of Inca Peru, he devoted several pages to the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno and hailed the manuscript codex as “the most interesting production of native genius that has come down to our time.”
(21.) Adorno, “A Witness,” 30–46 [section 2.5].
(22.) With Siglo Veintiuno’s permission, the complete critical apparatus was reproduced in the Madrid edition of 1987.
(23.) See the Pagination Survey of GKS 2232 4° as well as the codicological survey of the sheets and quires of the manuscript, including photographs of its watermarks, in Rolena Adorno and Ivan Boserup,New Studies of the Autograph Manuscript of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2003), 107–140.
(24.) Rolena Adorno and Ivan Boserup, “Guaman Poma and the Manuscripts of Fray Martín de Murúa: Prolegomena to a Critical Edition of the Historia del Perú,” Fund og Forskning (The Royal Library, Copenhagen) 44 (2005): 110, 234–235; and Adorno and Boserup, “The Making of Fray Martín de Murúa’s Historia general del Perú,” in The Getty Murúa: Essays on the Making of the “Historia general del Perú,” ed. Thomas B. F. Cummins and Barbara Anderson (Los Angeles: The Getty Research Institute, 2008), 20–23.
(25.) Guaman Poma copies Murúa’s utterance to the effect that he has created drawings so that their variety and colors [“pinturas”] might please the monarch and lighten the burden of reading a work that lacks the ingenuity and polished style found in greatly gifted authors (“debojado de mi mano y engenio para que la uaridad de ellas y de las pinturas y la enbinción a que vuestra Magestad es enclinado haga fázil aquel peso y molestia de una letura falta de enbinción y de aquel ornamento y polido ystilo que en los grandes engeniosos se hallan”). See Tom Cummins and Juan Ossio, “‘Muchas veces dudé real mag. açeptar esta dicha ympressa’: la tarea de hacer La famossa historia de los reyes incas de fray Martín de Murúa,” in Au miroir de l’anthropologie historique: mélanges offerts à Nathan Wachtel, ed. Juan Carlos Garavaglia, Jacques Poloni-Simard, and Gilles Rivière (Rennes, France: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2013), 160–162.
(26.) All Guaman Poma’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno references to Murúa, however, are negative: he portrays him as a cruel, corrupt exploiter of his native parishioners, a wife-stealer, and, though learned (“gran letrado”), inadequate as an historian and anti-Andean in outlook (GKS 2232 4°, [521, 625, 661–663, 920, 1090]). Guaman Poma’s detailed account of Murúa’s conflicts with the local native community, his discussion of local Andean governance in Yanaca (the native settlement where Murúa lived; see Figure 6), and his mention of a score of traditional customs that were practiced there but prohibited by the church point to his considerable acquaintance with that community. See Guaman Poma, GKS 2232 4°, [661–662].
(27.) Constituting two-thirds of Guaman Poma’s manuscript book, the Buen gobierno showed how traditional Andean social and administrative hierarchies were being dismantled, how the forced labor and forced resettlement of native communities were unraveling the traditional Andean social order, and how the rapidly increasing mixed-race (and non–tax-paying) mestizo population was an additional burden on the backs of tribute-paying native communities, which, as a result of all these forces, were in sharp decline.
(28.) Although there are plentiful online videos about Guaman Poma and the Nueva corónica y buen gobierno, they are of uneven quality, being inadequate or misleading in content or relying on out-of-date findings or pre–digitization-era images. To supplement the use of the Guaman Poma website in ways helpful to instructors and students, I recommend instead materials that explore the Andean world and its peoples, in Inca times as well as the present: the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (SmithsonianNMAI) video series, “The Great Inca Road: Engineering an Empire,” the excellent photo journal on today’s Andean and Amazonian peoples’ response to climate change by ALTITUD by FABRICA DE IDEAS, and, in print, a richly researched ethnographic compendium of contemporary Peruvian life, urban as well as rural—Pablo Macera, Santiago Forns, and Miguel Vidal, Nueva crónica del Perú, siglo XX (Lima, Peru: Fondo Editorial del Congreso del Perú, 2000). Its hundreds of lively illustrations in the style of Guaman Poma will encourage students to reflect on the documentary and interpretive values of his 17th-century work and the role of the visual medium in our lives today. All three of these resources are ideal for classroom use.
(29.) Guaman Poma, GKS 2232 4° [733, see also 738, 796, 838]; see also Adorno, “Images,” 232–270.
(30.) Guaman Poma, 2232 4° [281, 282]; see also Adorno, “Images,” 240–241.
(31.) Frank Salomon, “Testimonies: The Making and Reading of Native South American Historical Sources,” in The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, Vol. 3, South America, Part 1, ed. Frank Salomon and Stuart B. Schwartz (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 88–89.
(32.) For selections from the work in English translation, which can be helpful to the course instructor selecting materials for classroom discussion, I recommend Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, The First New Chronicle and Good Government: Abridged, ed. and trans. David Frye (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006); and Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, The First New Chronicle and Good Government: On the History of the World and the Incas Up to 1615, ed. and trans. Roland Hamilton (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009).
(33.) See John V. Murra, “Guaman Poma de Ayala: A Seventeenth-Century Indian’s Account of Andean Civilization. The Post-Conquest Chronicle of the Inca State’s Rise and Fall,” Natural History (New York) 70, nos. 7–8 (1961): 35–47, 52–63; and Murra, “Waman Puma, etnógrafo del mundo andino,” in Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno, ed. John V. Murra and Rolena Adorno, transl. of Quechua-language texts Jorge L. Urioste (Mexico City: Siglo Veintiuno, 1980), 1:xiii–xix.
(34.) See Rolena Adorno, “Guaman Poma de Ayala, Felipe (ca. 1535–1550–ca. 1616),” in Guide to Documentary Sources for Andean Studies, 1530–1900, ed. Joanne Pillsbury (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press 2008), 2:255–268; Jean-Philippe Husson, Davide Domenici, and Ivan Boserup, “Three Studies on Critical Issues Related to GKS 2232 4º,” Fund og Forskning 54 (2015): 9–168; Adorno and Boserup, Unlocking the Doors; and La memoria del mundo inca: Guaman Poma y la escritura de la Nueva corónica, ed. Jean-Philippe Husson (Lima, Peru: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2016).
(35.) Fray Martín de Murúa, Códice Murúa. Historia y genealogía de los reyes Incas del Perú. Códice Galvin. Estudio de Juan M. Ossio A, 2 vols. (Madrid: Testimonio Compañía Editorial, 2004).
(36.) See essays by Tom Cummins, Teresa Gisbert, Mercedes Lopez-Baralt, Maarten van der Guchte, and others in Rolena Adorno et al., Guaman Poma de Ayala: The Colonial Art of an Andean Author (New York: Americas Society, 1992); and Thomas B. F. Cummins, “Images on Objects: The Object of Imagery in Colonial Native Peru as Seen Through Guaman Poma’s Nueva Corónica i Buen Gobierno,” Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society 25, nos. 1–2 (1997): 237–273. On Guaman Poma’s calligraphy, see Valerie Fraser, “The Artistry of Guaman Poma,” RES, Anthropology and Aesthetics 29–30 (1996): 269–289.
(37.) Jorge L. Urioste, “Estudio analítico del quechua en la Nueva corónica,” in de Ayala, El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno, 1:xx–xxxi; Urioste, “Los textos quechuas en la obra de Waman Puma, in Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala—Nueva crónica y buen gobierno, ed. John V. Murra, Rolena Adorno, and Jorge L. Urioste (Madrid: Historia-16, 1987), 1:lxv–lxxvii; Jean-Philippe Husson, La poésie quechua dans la chronique de Felipe Waman Puma de Ayala: de l’art lyrique de cour aux chants et danses populaires, Série Ethnolinguistique Amérindienne (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1985); Bruce Mannheim, The Language of the Inka Since the European Invasion (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991); Jan Szemiński, “Idiomas, vocabulario y textos andinos de don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala,” in Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, Nueva corónica y buen gobierno, ed. Franklin Pease, (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993), 3:9–265; and Rodolfo Cerrón-Palomino, “Entre el aimara y el quechua: la <cachiua> guamanpomiana,” in Entre tradición e innovación: cinco siglos de literaturas amerindias: 50º Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, Varsovia, 2000, ed. Jean Philippe Husson (Lima, Peru: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2005), 77–99.
(38.) See R. Tom Zuidema, “Guaman Poma and the Art of Empire: Toward an Iconography of Inca Royal Dress,” in Andrien and Adorno, Transatlantic Encounters, 151–202; and R. Tom Zuidema, “Guaman Poma Between the Arts of Europe and the Andes,” Colonial Latin American Review 3, nos. 1–2 (1994): 37–85.
(39.) See Monica Barnes,“Las edades del hombre y del mundo según Hierónimo Chaves, de Sevilla y Guaman Poma de Ayala, del Perú,” in, Humanismo siglo XX: estudios dedicados al Dr. Juan Adolfo Vázquez, ed. Juan Schobinger (San Juan, Argentina: Editorial de la Universidad Nacional de San Juan, 1995), 291–297; DavidFleming, “Guaman Poma, Hieronymo de Chaues and the Kings of Persia,” Latin American Indian Literatures Journal 10, no. 1 (1994): 46–60; Sophie Plas, “Une source européenne de la Nueva corónica y buen govierno de Guaman Poma,” Journal de la Société des Américanistes 82 (1996): 97–116; and Soledad González Díaz,“Guaman Poma y el Repertorio anónimo (1554): una nueva fuente para las edades del mundo en la Nueva corónica y buen gobierno,” Chungará, Revista de Antropología Chilena 44, no. 3 (2012): 377–388.
(40.) Salomon, “Testimonies,” 57.
(42.) For Guaman Poma’s appearance in the documentary record, see Adorno, Guaman Poma and His Illustrated Chronicle, 29–31; Nelson Pereyra Chávez, “Un documento sobre Guaman Poma de Ayala existente en el archivo departamental de Ayacucho,” Histórica 21, no. 2 (1997): 261–270 (also available on the Guaman Poma website); and José Carlos de la Puente Luna and Víctor Solier Ochoa, “La huella del intérprete: Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala y la primera composición general de tierras en el valle de Jauja,” Histórica 30, no. 2 (2006): 7–39.