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date: 30 September 2020

The Culture of a Multi-Ethnic Colony

Summary and Keywords

The very nature of Spanish colonization meant that New Spain brought together people from different cultures, ethnicities, religions, and attitudes. Mexico City was the meeting place of all these various populaces. Before the conquest, Tenochtitlan had neighborhoods composed of residents from various parts of the empire. Apart from the many indigenous cultures, colonization also meant the addition of Spaniards, Africans, and Asians, some of whom were enslaved and others simply migrants. The result was a culture that expressed itself both in high and popular culture with a melding of elements—a joyous cacophony that reflected its mestizo nature. This culture was played out not only in institutional settings such as the viceregal court, ceremonies, the theater, and in church but also in the streets, parks, and taverns that dotted towns and cities. Although culture, to a certain extent, reflected New Spain’s hierarchical nature, separation between high and low was never absolute. In the cathedral, as in many other institutions, popular pursuits and music infiltrated the formal singing. This pattern of cultural slippage prevailed within many areas of daily life as the colonial world of New Spain layered pastimes and pursuits from its many constituents.

Keywords: play, processions, streets, theater, music, books, poetry, visual

New Spain’s culture reflected its diversity as well as a refined and a more popular culture. Aspects of this cultural life played out in many settings: in the open air in parks and plazas, in the streets, in taverns and theaters, as well as in more formal venues such as the viceregal palace. There was no rigid separation between these cultural forms, which moved both elite intellectual forms and more accessible ones. This slippage occurred with the regular contact between groups and within many institutional settings such as churches and theaters. Culture began with the amusements of the young but took many forms, including processions, theater, music, writing and reading, as well as the visual arts.

Culture of Play

Amusements and entertainments abounded in New Spain, ranging from formal to haphazard. People’s engagement within this culture of play and diversion began early; children had many of their own games and entertainments, but they were also present on the edges of adult recreation. Some of the games that children loved seem to have been widespread. Young people in the villages as well as cities shared a passion for flying kites. In large cities, children often used their homes’ flat roofs to launch their kites; they would sometimes become so absorbed in their fun that they fell off the roofs. In the windy months, the skies above Mexico City were full of kites, and at night children lit them with a small lantern. The sound of so many kites made a soft murmuring noise much like a melody.1 Play occurred all over; plebeian children went into the streets and parks, whereas the offspring of wealthier families were taken to parks such as the Alameda or dedicated alleys where they enjoyed puppet shows.2 Many games were simple ones that could be played in the streets: hopscotch, blind man’s bluff, Moors and Christians, marbles, and spinning tops. They also had a repertoire of childish songs called rondas.3 As adults, many plebeian men continued to play some of these games in taverns and in the streets, and singing remained a common pastime.4 In villages, young boys not only learned to read but also to sing and play musical instruments so that they could perform ecclesiastical music at church.5 Those with talent were often recruited into the cathedral choir where they were given formal musical training and could become professionals.6 Many playful pastimes were imitations of adult preoccupations and perhaps prepared the young for their social place. Boys in Mexico City were enamored with war games. In the late colony, they staged mock battles with toy cannons until these were banned. They also used clay figures to imitate alardes or simulated equestrian battles that were held on the days of San Juan, San Pablo, and San Pedro.7 This culture of play began early for the people of New Spain, and the boundary between childish and adult amusements was often rather blurred.

In the Streets

The residents of New Spain took great pleasure in the many entertainments and spectacles that were available informally in the streets and gathering places: these were semi-formal amusements such as paseos (or promenades). Culture was both sporadic and spontaneous, but many events were meticulously choreographed and planned over long periods. Many of these cultural happenings were connected; the informal celebrations borrowed the vocabulary of the formulaic events, and popular culture often bled into elite and sacred venues.

Cultural events often took place in the streets. In Mexico City, both parks and canals were prime sites for gatherings that included food, music, and people watching Paseos were both a place and an activity; residents of New Spain enjoyed strolling about in beautiful surroundings, observing others, and being observed themselves. Strolling afforded men and women the chance to flirt and court but also to show off their finery. In Mexico City, there were a number of places where residents congregated; the wealthy went to parks such as the Alameda and Chapultepec, whereas there was a more raucous, plebeian atmosphere alongside canals such as the Viga and Jamaica.8 Although flirtatious, the mood in the parks where Mexicans assembled was somewhat more reserved. Residents of means used carriages or rode on horseback around the wide alleyways. Their courting was more subtle. The Alameda was the preferred destination for Mexico City’s well-heeled aristocrats accompanied by their slaves. The participants indulged in sweets and fruit waters as they dallied about.9 Plebeian residents also turned up, especially on holidays. In the 18th century, guards tried to rid the park of any semi-nude people in order to safeguard the city elite’s experience.10 Along canal banks in Mexico City, paseos were much more boisterous affairs; the food included popular treats such as tamales, hot beverages, and alcoholic drinks. People both walked along the banks and also rode in small boats—all to the sound of music and singing.11 The atmosphere of these paseos was exuberant and uninhibited: the experience contrasted with the serenity and decorum of the parks, but all these venues served the same purpose and provided needed escape from the pressures of daily life in New Spain.

The streets were also the site of many more formal festivities that celebrated the established power of both the viceroy and the church. Events such as the entry of the new viceroy and religious festivals prompted elaborate processions and ceremonies. Cities were festooned with ostentatious decorations—the wealthy draped their balconies with sumptuous tapestries, and city officials paid for triumphal arches as well as paintings and statues along the route and illuminations and fireworks at night.12 These events were designed to impress; from the highest officials to the most humble, those involved dressed in special outfits. The viceroy wore a suit made with gold thread, while others donned clothes that symbolized their rank and position. Every detail was vital, as the procession demonstrated the social fabric and the “liturgy of magnificence.”13 Native leaders wore costumes that were highly stylized versions of pre-Hispanic dress as a link not only to their past but also symbolic of their defeat. In the 16th century, in a nod to the Aztec ceremony of Huey Tozotli, Mexico City’s main plaza was turned into a simulated forest using cut trees from nearby woods.14 There was also an African presence in these festivities; by the end of the 16th century in Mexico City, Afro-Mexicans participated notably with troupes of female dancers, which probably gave rise to the formation of a professional troupe of dancers. In at least one viceregal entry, these women offered the new viceroy a higa—a black hand charm or amulet—which conferred upon the recipient fertility and protection from evil.15

Processions brought together both high and low social groups—even those who could not participate were among the crowds of spectators along the procession routes.16 Workers were also part of these events; they produced the rich adornments such as the paintings and images.17 Various guilds made floats on which tableaux vivants were staged, but they also had their own floats and particular saints’ days festivities.18 Although these celebrations were supposed to be solemn, officials recognized the need to engage the population not just as participants but also as spectators. They commissioned impresarios to enhance the entertainments.19 As in many other diversions, the processions wrestled with the juxtaposition of sacred and profane, as well as high and low culture. These events drew crowds for the spectacle but also for the food stalls and atmosphere of release. Officials struggled to keep the semi-nude people from degrading the occasion and tried to curtail other raucous behavior.20 Smaller communities also had many festivities with similar features such as rockets and fireworks, as well as musicians and dancers in the processions.21 These ritual celebrations allowed residents to free themselves from social constraint. They reveled at the accompanying diversions such as cockfights, bullfights, and horse and rabbit races.22 Despite the avowed solemnity of such occasions they lapsed into popular entertainments that were encouraged by the secular entertainments provided both by the authorities and more spontaneously by hawkers and stallholders on the streets.

Religious culture allowed for many outbursts that bordered on the profane and certainly lacked solemnity.23 On the occasion of many festivals and important dates such as Christmas, residents built altars in the doorways of their homes and churches; along with street decorations, these altars included images, incense burners, and perfumed water.24 Part of the sociability around these days involved visiting these altars, usually at night; this ritual, according to Archbishop Francisco Fabián y Fuero, gave rise to much frivolity and lewdness more akin to partying than reverence.25 Carnival was another such semi-religious period when people in New Spain broke free from the shackles of conventionality. There were many elements of social inversion as men and women donned masks and costumes. Frequently men dressed as women, sporting fans, spindles, and wigs; conversely, women donned male attire, including frock coats or jackets and swords or pistols. During these periods, mockery of officials and other excesses were tolerated in this atmosphere of liberty.26 The revelry included the custom of throwing aniseeds and also hollowed-out eggs that were filled with different liquids called cascaronnes at the various people in the streets.27 The indigenous population of New Spain embraced the celebration of Carnival; in many areas they danced the huehuences and put on parody trials.28 Many of the dances had pre-Hispanic precedents.29 All these revelries moved from churches, palaces, theaters, and taverns into the streets and back. New Spain’s residents drifted from inside to outside but the streets were an important venue for cultural production.

Drama and Music

Life in the streets had a certain theatricality, but this flair for drama was also channeled into more formal presentations. During the conquest period, along with soldiers and military paraphernalia, Hernán Cortés brought minstrels whose playing introduced European ways of playing and instruments to the region, and musicians regularly accompanied military expeditions.30 Among New Spain’s indigenous peoples, before the conquest, religious functions had included theater and music. Thus it was a tradition that was well ingrained within the cultural practices of the region. In the early colony, missionaries tapped into this theatrical predisposition to incorporate native peoples into the new religion. Much of the early theater was religious—there was acting out of biblical scenes or morality plays by the converts. From these initial experiences, New Spain developed a vibrant culture of drama and music that infused spaces and activities both formal and informal.

During their first encounters, Spanish clerics found that they could build upon many native traditions in order to attract converts and introduce them to Christian doctrine. Before the conquest, native people often attended religious plays performed in various venues including inside or near temples and in their city plazas. In New Spain, the early missionary theater was not meant as an entertainment but rather to show the Nahuas and other indigenous peoples how they should worship within a tradition new to them. At times, the lessons were quite literal: for example, a play depicting the life of St. John the Baptist ended with an indigenous baby’s actual baptism, undoubtedly serving as the object lesson.31 The missionaries built upon Nahua traditions such as the huehuetlatolli or speeches of the elders, and the plays used a very formal mode of speaking. This theatrical genre combined medieval Spanish traditions and indigenous ones to generate a new form: Nahuatl Theater.32 The Franciscans involved the recently converted in the process entrusting them with the translation of plays into Nahuatl. From the 1530s to 1700s, many scripts for these plays circulated within indigenous communities. With translation, however, meanings varied from the original and deviated from the text. In one play, the actor playing Jesus Christ rubbed ointment onto Mary Magdalene’s head instead of her feet as is told in the biblical version.33 Nonetheless, indigenous people in New Spain integrated this new theater into their many celebrations and it became part of their culture.

To a great extent, ecclesiastical personnel lost control of the plays. By the end of the 17th century, religious theater had become an intrinsic part of the cultural heritage of native communities.34 The indigenous people not only embraced the performances but also demonstrated talent for acting, an enthusiasm for drama, and a “strong comic spirit.”35 Communities found many reasons for performances; they were a regular feature of Christmas celebrations, festivals, and important occasions such as the visit of a religious official.36 These were not always dreary recitations of biblical stories; those involved, although not professionals, took pride in production and entertainment values. The plays were usually performed in open spaces such the central patio of buildings or even, at times, cemeteries.37 Sets and staging could be simple or elaborate. In a 1539 Tlaxcala performance, the producers built a representation of the Garden of Eden complete with rivers, mountains, and live animals—including two jaguars restrained only by ropes.38 Actors sometimes stood on ladders or on moveable raised platforms to simulate speaking from heaven or descended into sub-stage areas to replicate the descent into hell. At times, the stage setting included imitation palaces or houses.39 The performances had considerable visual appeal, but sounds were also a vital part of the experience. The loud bangs of fireworks marked actions such as devils taking a sinner into hell as well as the tolling of church bells and songs. Hymns and liturgical chants represented the majority of songs used in plays, which were often chanted in Latin; however, participants sometimes used Nahuatl pieces.40 Dance was also another important element in the performances; angels and shepherds danced as part of the traditional Christmas pastorelas [Nativity plays], but traditional indigenous dances were also frequently incorporated into the action.41 Even though these plays began as a conversion strategy introduced and promoted by missionary clerics, the indigenous populations of New Spain adopted the practice.

The performance of these plays not only marked special events but also represented a vital part of community pride and identity. Productions attracted not just a local audience but also spectators from nearby villages and thus increased sales for local merchants. In addition, villages took pride in a good production and valued the prestige associated with performances.42 Theater of this type connected indigenous peoples to the sacred and also involved many in their communities.43 Although only those with the ability to read could work directly with scripts, even the non-literate participated and learned their speeches by hearing and memorizing them. At first, only male actors could take part; but by the end of the 17th century, women commonly acted as well.44 The pieces involved not just the performers but also the public at large. They became ritual occasions for which many in the audience (and sometimes on stage) imbibed alcohol to the point of inebriation.45 Consequently, although these plays originated as a church project, religious officials realized that they had lost control. In 1555, the first Mexican Provincial Council set down rules for plays, and priests had to approve the scripts and songs. No plays could be performed in the early morning before mass. And finally, the adornments and costumes could not evoke the pre-conquest practices and beliefs.46 Clearly these prohibitions did not stamp out controversial practices. In the 18th century, ecclesiastical officials continued to attempt to police the staging of Nahuatl Theater by enforcing these rules but especially by confiscating the scripts where possible.47 Religious theater became a significant element in the culture of native communities, although reenactments of sacred stories were also performed in convents and monasteries for non-native audiences.48 Nonetheless, these religious stagings generated many cultural practices that endured and were transformed into customs that accompany the important ritual events of the religious calendar.

Although the first theater of New Spain was undoubtedly connected to conversion and religion, a secular and often rowdy theater followed shortly thereafter. The initial representations were usually presented to commemorate important events such as the conquest. These performances were not as serious as the missionizing plays; they were meant as distractions and amusements. At first, secular plays were acted out in haphazard settings: on a cart, in the streets, plazas, or atriums on temporary platforms.49 Eventually, performances moved into more permanent locations in various venues. One of the earliest permanent theaters in Mexico City was located in the Hospital de los Naturales [Hospital for indigenous residents] as a fundraising exercise for the institution.50 This theater transformed into a more formal venue called the Coliseo. Mexico City, Puebla, Orizaba, Tlaxcala, and Querétaro had formal theaters and acting companies—although theaters probably existed in other cities in New Spain.51 Apart from the Coliseo, less formal theaters called casas de comedias [houses of plays] presented performances in patios with seats arranged on a gradient and a flimsy roof.52 There were also more informal venues for drama—ones that escaped censorship and rules. Because these small locations were unofficial, they could put on racy shows.53 There was also a lot of transitory theater; actors set up and performed in the streets avoiding censorship entirely. Many of these acts were highly satirical and poked fun at major figures in the colonial administration. They also frequently included magic tricks or machines that made dolls move.54 Puppet shows were not just for children; retired actors often organized these entertainments in their homes and indulged in biting satire.55 Secular theater could not be contained within buildings or formalities—actors and audiences sought out the pleasures of entertainments in a multitude of venues.

Much of the content of entertainments in these informal venues is lost to historians except in the general sense that it was racy, ironic, and mocked establishment values. In more formal theatrical institutions, colonial officials could exert more control because the plays had to be presented for approval by the Holy Office and could be censored.56 Mostly the plays performed seem to have been written by Spanish authors of the time, some of whom were celebrated, such as Pedro Calderón de la Barca, but also there were translations of other celebrated European playwrights such as Molière and Racine.57 Not all the works staged were of such high caliber, but they were popular.58 The exact repertoire of theatrical representations cannot be determined, as many of the scripts from this period were either lost or destroyed.59 Shows at Coliseos in New Spain were only partially about theater. Just like in the religious theater, the production values of the shows had to be impressive; spectators demanded luxurious decorations and ostentatious costumes and settings. Plays often included dance and song both within the action but also as interludes.60 Theatrical productions were probably closer to what we associate with opera; the plays were sung, dance was a major component, and the productions were extravagant.61 The interval shows often involved off-color songs and dances but also interludes of a different nature: cockfights were organized on stage as were bullfights pitting young bullocks against the fighters.62 Unlike the religious theater that persisted since the early conversion efforts, the plays and entertainments in the secular tradition were focused on the audience’s amusement.

Despite the light fare, or perhaps because such amusements were so popular, people flocked to the Coliseo. Drawn by the posters advertising a show, the audiences gathered at the theater shortly after the last prayers and stayed well into the night.63 The performances were wildly popular and attracted both high society (e.g., the Viceroy, his family, and members of the viceregal court) as well as members of the general public. The cost of tickets did mean that many indigenous and Afro-Mexicans were less likely to attend, but the audiences were diverse nonetheless; even monks were often present.64 Spectators tended to be masculine; however, in the cheap seats, women spectators had their own sections.65 In theory, audience behavior had rules. But despite these prohibitions, the public shouted at actors, ate sweets and other treats, talked among themselves (especially when flirting) threw garbage onto the lower seats, and smoked so much that the performances were engulfed in in haze. Men fought over whether they should remove their hat, and vendors shouted out to customers hawking their products.66 The audiences and the experience hardly resembled the respectful silent spectators in the modern theater. Despite all these distractions, the acting troupes persevered. Maybe it is because of these conditions that there was a shortage of actors in New Spain; most came from Spain, Cuba, Peru, and even Italy.67 In the late 18th century, entrepreneurs in Puebla founded a school to train performers, but it failed in the midst of accusations of immorality.68 Moral authorities at the time considered the theater world only a step away from depravity. Elite men targeted actresses and dancers for seduction and frequently assumed that any woman involved in the theater was of dubious morality or a prostitute.69 Colonial authorities tried to protect against this sinful taint by barring any woman deemed corrupt to play any role in plays honoring saints.70 Some theatrical women were notorious; Micaela del Corral, also known as la Zua, was a dancer famous for her many lovers; Josefa Ordóñez similarly made a mark on stage as a courtesan to the wealthy and powerful but also as a successful theatrical impresario.71 The people who worked in theatrical settings as well as the audiences were exuberant in their enjoyment of the dramas both in the Coliseo and after the show.

The theater became a focal point for scandal and entertainment but also provoked disapproval among many others. Moralists called theaters “schools for lewdness.” They believed that attending performances encouraged women to break the rules of proper decorum and chastity. These authorities pointed to the obscene ditties sung in the interludes as some of the many questionable practices; then there were the men in the audience who shouted to female dancers and actors “My soul, God preserve you!” in their efforts to capture these women’s attentions.72 Although colonial officials had always tried to regulate the theater, in the 18th century they changed their focus to an effort to make the theater more uplifting and educational. Inspired by Enlightenment ideals, officials condemned not so much the licentiousness associated with the theater in New Spain but rather its vulgarity and lack of educational purpose. Gradually, these reformers were able to promote plays that were more serious in nature and whose intention was to foster good morals and character among the population.73 Those who worked in the theater, however, had to make compromises to sell tickets, so it is unlikely that the reforms and regulations transformed the dramatic arts overnight.

New Spain’s musical culture followed much the same path as its theatrical traditions. Missionaries introduced European-style music and musical instruments as part of the conversion process, and indigenous peoples adopted these novelties and integrated them into their own cultural practices.74 The link between music and religious celebration resonated with indigenous peoples, as song and dance had been strong elements of their rituals. The Nahuas and other peoples welcomed the new forms of music.75 After the first stages of conquest and conversion, clerics brought these practices north. Both ecclesiastical and secular settlers in northern New Spain encouraged native music; for the religious personnel, chaste dances and music that did not re-create previous practices were acceptable, while Spanish residents believed that European-style music aided in transforming the indigenous population into good workers.76 Musical education was part of the curriculum in schools for indigenous youth but clerics also established singing schools and other types of specialized musical training. In 1527 Fray Pedro de Gante initiated instruction for Nahua singers in plainsong and polyphonic music; the students began to sing as an accompaniment to mass.77 In small communities of New Spain, indigenous children learned music in their local schools, and it was hoped they would teach these religious songs to the rest of the community.78 Indigenous people not only learned to play European instruments such as dulcimers, oboes, flutes, bassoons, cornets (and even the organ) but also began to make their own versions.79 By the 17th century, wealthy members of native communities would pay to have laudatory songs performed to religious imagery.80 Music became a career path for many indigenous men who formed the chapel choirs; their status was marked by wearing special robes and by earning a good salary. The adoption of European musicianship among the indigenous was so successful that there was an oversupply for the number of positions available.81 Both indigenous and Afro-Mexican youths (some enslaved) were recruited into the cathedral choir.82 What began as a mechanism for conversion became a vital part of colonial culture.

Native musicians began to copy the choir books imported by Spanish clerics, and some also composed new music within the European genre: for example, they wrote villancicos [Christmas carols], polyphonic arrangements, and masses.83 At times, preconquest music was still part of the colonial culture; in the 17th century, the noted author and intellectual Carlos Sigüenza y Góngora visited the city of Querétaro on the occasion of festivities honoring the Virgin Mary and observed the music and dance of the Tocotin in which the performers were using native instruments.84 The boundaries between indigenous adoption of European forms of music and their successful participation in this culture faded as a musical culture emerged in New Spain still centered on religious music to some extent. This type of music was part of many different cultural manifestations, ranging from processions, theater, festivals, marriages, funerals, and many other occasions.85 New Spain’s residents not only heard religious music in many public venues but they probably also sang hymns in their homes—they were encouraged to do so at night.86 The Cathedrals had their particular choirs and sometimes their own orchestras. Puebla’s cathedral had a reputation for musical excellence that was noted as far away as Spain. Oaxaca was also known for wonderful music; its chapel master was originally from the Zapotec village of Zaapeche. He won the post over many other applicants for demonstrating an aptitude for playing the organ and having a sublime singing voice. By the 18th century, composers in Michoacán were so numerous and distinguished that they were known as a “school.”87 From its early use by missionaries, ecclesiastical music had brought many indigenous musicians into a larger world of professional musicianship and connected them to the larger culture of musical genres emanating from Europe.

Cathedrals and churches were important musical centers employing choirs, orchestras, and chapel masters. Two types of music were considered acceptable within ecclesiastical buildings: plain song and polyphonic song. These musical genres were not only considered sacred but had long been connected to the church. Nonetheless, more secular musical forms crept into churches and cathedrals including tonadillas [ditties] and villancicos. In the Mexico City cathedral, some performers used maracas and drums—certainly not the instruments associated with the sacred but rather indicating an African influence.88 New Spain also developed a strong culture of secular music that bridged the gap between religious and secular. Many musical forms were ribald and disrespectful such as those ditties performed during theater interludes. Villancicos were originally secular and as such banned from church setting; but by the 17th century, they were allowed in the churches. On the occasion of festivals, church choirs sang villancicos that were often based on poems written in Spanish. Many villancicos mentioned common activities such as playing cards or the ceremonial jousting that took place to commemorate military victories.89 These songs were extremely popular and were usually composed for religious holidays; many were printed in booklets that found eager customers in New Spain. The famous 17th-century poet, the nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, wrote many villancicos and published fifteen collections of these songs. Villancicos told stories in song form, and in one of her compositions, Sor Juana wrote about both native and Afro-Mexican dances.90 There were many popular forms of music and events associated with them.91 Sometimes when people gathered in informal social occasions, they sang compositions that were grounded in their social realities, and these songs—called décimas—often attacked those in charge using satire and mockery.92 In the 18th century, popular songs that ridiculed and disrespected the Catholic Church and its personnel (as well as government officials) proliferated and were denounced by the Holy Office.93 Not all secular popular songs were political in content; many were simply enjoyed as entertainment in a party setting and as dance music. In cities and villages, people gathered in houses at night to dance to popular music—these gatherings were called “fandangos” and convened for many reasons. The origin of the word and the music and dance were highly Africanized.94 It was in the fandangos that couple dances originated despite official prohibitions against such diversions and their settings.95 In the fandangos, taverns, and private parties people began to form a distinctive secular music: sones and jarabes. These musical genres were indelibly associated with dance—but they were product of the mixing of musical influences that characterized the colony.96 Music had escaped the bounds of the ecclesiastical genre and reflected the rich heritages of the various ethnicities in New Spain.

Reading and Paintings

Before the conquest, indigenous peoples wrote in pictographs; their writing was a form of painting, and thus the two traditions blended. Missionaries began to instruct young indigenous men in alphabetic writing shortly after the conquest; and along with these new skills, many produced documents that combined elements of both traditions with images that integrated European elements such as perspective. It did not take long for mestizo and native chroniclers to emerge writing in their own language but in alphabetic text.97 From these beginnings, New Spain developed a vibrant intellectual community centered in Mexico City but with strong representation elsewhere in cities and villages.

Although there were small local schools scattered throughout New Spain, literacy was not widespread. It was mostly an attribute of the wealthy; but for these few, Mexico City and its viceregal court were a central point where local and foreign writers congregated. The capital also boasted many institutions of higher learning such as its university, colleges, and seminaries. This rich cultural and intellectual life encouraged writing of all types. Printers produced large runs of books locally, some literary and others more prosaic and official. The book-buying public could support booksellers as well as presses. The capital was a big market for these presses, and both wealthy citizens and institutions often had large libraries—some of which were open to the public. Books in many languages and covering a wide array of topics were available. But novels sold the best.98 By the 18th century, residents could purchase books in any number of locales: bookstores, general stores, haberdashers, market stalls, as well as from traveling salesmen.99 Nonetheless, books available to the public had to be approved by the Inquisition.100 Reading was not always a solitary pursuit. In wealthy homes where there were estrados [women’s spaces], those present enjoyed either reading out loud or listening while they practiced womanly arts.101 The wealthy also found amusement in reading plays together.102 People in New Spain were also passionate about poetry; within the viceregal court there were many poets, some were dabblers of no account, but the work of other poets is still studied today. Because the taste for poetry was so prevalent, poetry tournaments were also fairly common—at times organized by guilds.103 Recitation of poems was part of most important events including processions.104 Writing was everywhere in the cities and villages of New Spain, ranging from posters to advertise a play to solid tomes and official decrees.

Because rates of literacy were low in New Spain, many messages were imparted through the visual arts. Within the processions described earlier, spectators learned from the decorations including paintings produced for the occasion.105 The paintings in churches as well as other images such as engravings were also a source of information for the largely illiterate population.106 Painters were organized in artisanal guilds; the first one was established in 1557 and included not only those who painted religious images but also those who worked on wood, frescos, and tapestries. By the end of the 18th century, some of these workshops were sizeable—with workforces as large as five hundred. They produced not only ecclesiastical objects but also decorative objects for everyday use.107 Many painters of note emerged during the colonial period, and they produced not just altar pieces and paintings depicting biblical scenes but also work that depicted life in New Spain (including the 18th-century casta paintings). In 1783, the Royal Academy of San Carlos was founded to promote the arts in New Spain.108 Artists and painters of many types abounded, and while not everyone could afford oil paintings, people of modest means bought engravings or admired those in churches and processions.

A Culture of Diversity

Culture in New Spain was never one-dimensional; the life of the streets, processions, theater, and so many other diversions were marked by music, dramatic flourishes, and a lush panorama for the eye. Even though it was a society that was highly hierarchical, the official culture could not escape influences from indigenous and African residents who, at the same time, adopted European genres in music, theater, and the arts and created new hybrid forms. Cultural events were ever present, sometimes inside the Cathedral or the Coliseo; but more often than not, they spilled out into the streets like so much of the daily life in New Spain. People began to participate in various elements of the colony’s rich cultural life early on, by singing in the park, watching a puppet show, or participating as one of the many spectators for the processions that marked religious and political events. Culture was not just for the literate and educated; because cultural genres were infused with symbolic messages that were spoken, portrayed, or acted out, these were forms that brought people together. In the 18th century, residents of New Spain began to subvert this culture and use satirical songs and verses as well as theater to challenge institutions.

Discussion of the Literature

Many of the early scholars of culture in New Spain privileged high culture. Irving Leonard, in his charming studies, examines the literary production and its place within the colony. Robert Stevenson wrote an exhaustive study that grounded the musical culture of colonial Mexico in the preceding musical practices of the Nahua and other indigenous groups and then built on this foundation to explain the transformation of these traditions and musicianship into a more Europeanized version (but with some preconquest elements). Lourdes Turrent’s monograph on the music of Mexico City’s cathedral is more within this tradition. Kirsten Mann builds on these traditions to show the process of musical introduction and conversion in Northern New Spain. Alvaro Ochoa Serrano writes about popular music and dance the ways in which New Spain produced popular musical forms that were distinctive, such as the son and the jarabe. Luis González Obregón’s account of Mexico City in 1810 is a masterful exploration of daily life in that metropolis with an emphasis on the residents’ activities and cultural proclivities. Despite a turn away from these approaches and topics, these works continue to be extremely valuable to the field. More recent scholarship eschews these more formal and elite cultural productions and examines both popular culture and the intersection between official and plebeian culture. Linda Curcio-Nagy and Frances Ramos, for example, examine processions and religious festivals; their work is marked by a formal ritual production but one that engaged the masses and that was an instructional spectacle. Alejandro Cañeque also works within this field but examines the semiotics of power of rank and as symbolized in objects. One of the distinguishing features of these authors and most within this field is an engagement with theoretical perspectives that inform and provide analytical tools that deepen our understanding of these cultural forms. Antonio Rubial García has a masterful command of the diaries and travelers’ accounts of the period; with these he teases out details of the cultural practices of daily life. Juan Pedro Viqueira Albán’s influential monograph engages with many cultural elements: the theater, drinking, paseos, games, and various pursuits such as bullfights and gambling. Louise Burkhart provides an invaluable exploration of the transition of Nahua Theater from its first stages as conversion exercises into a cultural practice that became deeply ingrained within indigenous communities of New Spain. Germán Viveros also documents this shift with less emphasis on the Nahua traditions and a greater exploration of the early secular theater of New Spain. Ana María Atondo Rodríguez writes about the women who worked in the theater and their associations with prostitution. Jonathan Truitt and Dorothy Tanck de Estrada show how music became part of the curriculum in indigenous schools. More recently some scholars have begun exploring the history of food as part of New Spain’s cultural production. Rosalva Loreto López has used notarial documents to painstakingly analyze the placement of images—both paintings and engravings—within colonial homes and connects these to a domestic religious culture. Similarly, Charlene Villaseñor Black shows how the paintings in colonial churches shaped the gender ideals of colonial Mexican men and how cultural studies can inform other interpretative areas.

Primary Sources

There is no one set of sources that historians use to examine culture in New Spain, rather scholars choose different strategies depending on their interests. The records of the Inquisition have proved to be a rich source for historians of culture in New Spain. However, these documents privilege cultural manifestations that were considered unorthodox and profane. As such, scholars interested in prohibited songs, censorship of books and plays, as well as various cultural manifestations find these documents brimming with examples. In order to examine more orthodox cultural forms, other researchers have used the documents generated by colonial institutions, for example, the cathedral, missionary accounts, and city governments. These institutional documents provide information about the ways in which cultural events were organized, governed, and financed. It is within these types of documents that scholars have been able to piece together the details of the many religious processions that marked the cultural and ecclesiastical calendar of New Spain and analyze the various elements of these events such as the decorations, the entertainment value, and finally the composition and ordering of the processions themselves. Institutional documents of the church have also provided considerable information about the workings of musicians and these institutions preserved some of the musical scores used at the time. Another important source of information is a limited number of travelers’ accounts and chronicles or diaries. Because access to New Spain was closed off to most outsiders, the reports of foreigners touring the regions are few; but they often provide details that native-born observers would not include. There are a few reports of missionaries and ecclesiastical (or other) types of officials who described peoples and their customs as they went about their official business. A few diaries, written by literate and well-placed men, exist for the 17th and 18th centuries. Although many of these diary entries are mundane affairs, they also contain some illuminating passages that discuss the revelries that many people engaged in as well as routine cultural practices. More recently, court cases have provided information regarding games and songs that the popular classes played and some of the ways they subverted the official celebrations: for example, adding satirical flourishes to melodies and unchaste, disrespectful practices that also inverted many of the gender and social norms of the day. Although historians have been less prone to using images, there is much to be learned about the cultural practices of daily life as well as ceremonial occasions by examining painting and other images such as engravings produced in New Spain. In addition, some travelers produced images that document games, audiences, processions, and people. These images can be used in conjunction with written sources to provide a more complete representation of cultural practices and norms. In addition, a few scholars have used images within documents from the transitional period when native scribes began to write in alphabetic text but also used images that harkened back to the pictographs of the pre-Hispanic period but were clearly influenced by European artistic techniques. Historians consult many archives in Mexico as well as specialized libraries that house rare books. Most of the institutions have online search aids. Scholars also will find such rare books in many American collections such as the Bancroft, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Nettie Lee Benson Collection to name a few.

Further Reading

Bristol, Joan Cameron. Christians, Blasphemers, and Witches: Afro-Mexican Ritual Practice in the Seventeenth Century. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Burkhart, Louise. Aztecs on Stage: Religious Theater in Colonial Mexico. Edited by Louise M. Burkhart. Translated by Louise M. Burkhart, Barry D. Sell, and Stafford Poole. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Cañeque, Alejandro. The King’s Living Image; The Culture and Politics of Viceregal Power in Colonial Mexico. New York: Routledge, 2004.Find this resource:

Curcio-Nagy, Linda. The Great Festivals of Colonial Mexico City; Performing Power and Identity. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Earle, Rebecca. The Body of the Conquistador: Food, Race, and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America, 1492–1700. Critical Perspectives on Empire. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.Find this resource:

González Obregón, Luis. La Vida de México en 1810. Mexico City: Editorial Innovación, 1979Find this resource:

Kristin Dutcher Mann. The Power of Song: Music and Dance in the Mission Communities of Northern New Spain, 1590–1810. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

La plaza, el palacio y el convento. La ciudad de México en el siglo XVII. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y el Arte, 1998.Find this resource:

Leonard, Irving A. Baroque Times in Old Mexico. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959.Find this resource:

Lockhart, James. The Nahuas after the Conquest: A Social and Cultural History of the Indians of Central Mexico, Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992.Find this resource:

Pardo, Osvaldo. Honor and Personhood in Early Modern Mexico. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Ramos, Frances L. Identity, Ritual, and Power in Colonial Puebla. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012.Find this resource:

Rubial García, Antonio. El Paraíso de los elegidos, Una lectura de la historia cultural de la Nueva España, (1521–1804). México: Fondo de Cultura Económico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2010.Find this resource:

Rubial García, Antonio. Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos: La vida cotidiana en la época de Sor Juana. Mexico City: Taurus, 2005.Find this resource:

Stevenson, Robert. Music in Mexico: A Historical Survey. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1952.Find this resource:

Turrent, Lourdes. Rito, música y poder en la Catedral Metropolitana México, 1790–1810. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultural Económica, Colegio de México, 2013.Find this resource:

Villa-Flores, Javier. Dangerous Speech: A Social History of Blasphemy in Colonial Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Viqueira Albán, Juan Pedro. Propriety and Permissiveness in Bourbon Mexico. Translated by Sonya Lipsett-Rivera and Sergio Rivera Ayala. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1999.Find this resource:


(1.) Antonio Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos: La vida cotidiana en la época de Sor Juan. (Mexico City: Taurus, 2005, 68, 71; Deborah Kanter. Hijos del Pueblo: Gender, Family, and Community in Rural Mexico, 1730–1850 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008), 56; and Luis González Obregón, La Vida de México en 1810 (Mexico City: Editorial Innovación, 1979), 98.

(2.) Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 73; Puppets had a long history in Mexico. Introduced by the Spanish, puppets were used by both missionaries and conquerors to communicate with the indigenous population. By the 18th century, puppeteers plied their craft in many spaces such as private houses, alleys, and parks and also went to cities and smaller communities all over Mexico. See Yolanda Jurado Rojas, “Puppet Theater in Eighteenth-Century Mexico,” The Americas 67, no. 3 (2011): 315–329. Puppet theaters of poor reputation congregated in the calle de Venero (now Mesones). See Noële Vidal, “El pequeño teatro del mundo: Les marionettes et l’histoire du Mexique,” Revue d’histoire Moderne et Contemporaine 32 (1985): 99–113; and González Obregón, La Vida de México en 1810, 98.

(3.) Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 71; Kanter, Hijos del Pueblo, 56; and González Obregón, La Vida de México en 1810, 98.

(4.) Sonya Lipsett-Rivera, The Origins of Macho: Men and Masculinity in Colonial Mexico (Albuqueque: University of New Mexico Press, in press).

(5.) Dorothy Tanck de Estrada, Pueblos de Indios y educación en el México colonial, 1750–1821 (Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 1999), 413; and Jonathan Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies: Nahua Incorporation of European Music and Theater in Colonial Mexico City,” The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History 66, no. 3 (2010): 315.

(6.) Alfredo Nava Sánchez, “La Voz descarnada: Un acercamiento al canto y al cuerpo en la Nueva España,” in Presencias y miradas del cuerpo en España la Nueva, ed. Estela Roselló Soberón (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2011), 31–33.

(7.) González Obregón, La Vida de México en 1810, 96, 99.

(8.) Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 72–73; Juan Pedro Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness in Bourbon Mexico, trans. Sonya Lipsett-Rivera and Sergio Rivera Ayala (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1999), 112, 171–172; González Obregón, La Vida de México en 1810, 96; and Marión Juliette Valeri Du Bron, “El Caballo en la sociedad virreinal Novohispano de los siglos XVI y XVII. La caballería del Dios Marte,” in La Gesta del caballo en la historia de México, ed. Miguel Ángel J. Márquez Ruiz (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2010), 75.

(9.) María del Carmen León Cázares, “A cielo abierto. La convivencia en plazas y calles,” in Historia de la vida cotidiana en México, Tomo II, La ciudad barroca, ed. Antonio Rubial García (Mexico City: El Colegio de México and Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2005), 27.

(10.) Norman Martín, “La desnudez en la Nueva España del siglo XVIII,” Anuario de Estudios Americanos 29 (1972): 279; and Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 73.

(11.) Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 72; Viqueira Albán. Propriety and Permissiveness, 112; and González Obregón. La Vida de México en 1810, 96.

(12.) Linda Curcio-Nagy, The Great Festivals of Colonial Mexico City: Performing Power and Identity (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004), 21, 71; and Frances L. Ramos, Identity, Ritual, and Power in Colonial Puebla (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012), 105.

(13.) Curcio-Nagy, The Great Festivals, 20; and Alejandro Cañeque, The King’s Living Image: The Culture and Politics of Viceregal Power in Colonial Mexico (New York: Routledge, 2004), 121.

(14.) Curcio-Nagy, The Great Festivals, 47.

(15.) Curcio-Nagy, The Great Festivals, 41, 58, 60.

(16.) Ramos, Identity, Ritual, and Power, 104.

(17.) Jorge González Angulo Aguirre, Artesanado y ciudad a finales del siglo XVIII (Mexico City: Secretaría de Educación Pública, 1983), 20–21, 29.

(18.) González Angulo Aguirre, Artesanado y ciudad, 37; and Curcio-Nagy, The Great Festivals, 68; Sonia Pérez Toledo, Los Hijos del trabajo. Los artesanos de la ciudad de México, 1780–1853 (Mexico City: El Colegio de México and Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Iztapalapa, 1996), 70.

(19.) Lourdes Turrent, Rito, música y poder en la Catedral Metropolitana México, 1790–1810 (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultural Económica, Colegio de México, 2013), 202.

(20.) Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 88–89; and Martín, “La desnudez en la Nueva España,” 280.

(21.) Tanck de Estrada, Pueblos de Indios y educación, 301–303.

(22.) González Obregón, La Vida de México en 1810, 96; and Curcio-Nagy, The Great Festivals, 69.

(23.) Turrent, Rito, música y poder, 199.

(24.) Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 87.

(25.) Francisco Fabián y Fuero, Colección de providencias diocesanas del Obispado de Puebla de los Ángeles (Puebla, Mexico: Imprenta del Real Seminario Palafoxiana, 1770), 451–452. Edict LIII.

(26.) Antonio Rubial García, La plaza, el palacio y el convento: La ciudad de México en el siglo XVII (Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y el Arte, 1998), 58; and Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 104–105.

(27.) Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 109.

(28.) Gerardo Lara Cisneros, “Religiosidad indígena en contextos urbanos. Nueva España, siglo XVIII,” in Los Indios y las ciudades de la Nueva España, ed. Felipe Castro Gutiérrez (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, 2010), 284.

(29.) Rubial García, La plaza, el palacio y el convento, 58.

(30.) Robert Stevenson, Music in Mexico: A Historical Survey (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1952), 51; and Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies,” 318.

(31.) Juan Collantes de Terán, “La Huella Franciscana en el primer teatro secularizado del siglo XVI en Méjico,” Archivo Ibero-Americano 46 (Jan–Feb 1986): 1003; and Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies,” 324.

(32.) Viviana Díaz Balsera, “A Judeo-Christian Tlaloc or a Nahua Yahweh? Domination, Hybridity and Continuity in the Nahua Evangelization Theater,” Colonial Latin American Review 10 (December 2001): 209–227; Germán Viveros. “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos. La norma, la censura y la práctica,” in Historia de la vida cotidiana en México, Tomo II, La ciudad barroca, ed. Antonio Rubial García (Mexico City: El Colegio de México and Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2005), 461; and Louise Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage: Religious Theater in Colonial Mexico, trans. Louise M. Burkhart, Barry D. Sell, and Stafford Poole (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011), 5–6.

(33.) Díaz Balsera, “A Judeo-Christian Tlaloc,” 210, 243; and Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 12–15.

(34.) Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies,” 325.

(35.) Collantes de Terán, “La Huella Franciscana,” 1003.

(36.) Díaz Balsera, “A Judeo-Christian Tlaloc,” 241; and Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 6.

(37.) Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 21.

(38.) Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 22; and Germán Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral profano en el siglo XVI Novohispano,” Estudios de Historia Novohispano 30 (Jan–June 2004): 38.

(39.) Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 21–22.

(40.) Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 45; and Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 25.

(41.) Díaz Balsera, “A Judeo-Christian Tlaloc,” 242; and Collantes de Terán, “La Huella Franciscana,” 1004.

(42.) Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 18.

(43.) Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 17.

(44.) Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 10, 22, 23.

(45.) Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 19.

(46.) Kristin Dutcher Mann, The Power of Song: Music and Dance in the Mission Communities of Northern New Spain, 1590–1810 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010), 81.

(47.) Burkhart, Aztecs on Stage, 20.

(48.) Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 461–462.

(49.) Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 46.

(50.) Irving A. Leonard, Baroque Times in Old Mexico (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959), 72; and Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 46.

(51.) Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 52, 57; and Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 473.

(52.) Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 472.

(53.) Rubial García, La plaza, el palacio y el convento, 114.

(54.) Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,”462–463.

(55.) Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 167.

(56.) Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 48.

(57.) Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 473; and Leonard, Baroque Times in Old Mexico, 74.

(58.) Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 88.

(59.) Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 58.

(60.) Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 47, 52.

(61.) Turrent, Rito, música y poder, 201.

(62.) Rubial García, La plaza, el palacio y el convento, 113; and Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos.” 480.

(63.) Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 54; and Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 42.

(64.) Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 33; Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 471; Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 200.

(65.) Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 46.

(66.) Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 44; and Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 468, 471–472.

(67.) Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 473.

(68.) Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 53.

(69.) Ana María Atondo Rodríguez, El amor venal y la condición femenina en el México colonial (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1992), 241–242.

(70.) Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 475.

(71.) Atondo Rodríguez, El amor venal, 246–247, 265.

(72.) Rubial García, La plaza, el palacio y el convento, 1113–1114.

(73.) Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 465; Viveros, “Espectáculo teatral,” 47; and Viqueira Albán, Propriety and Permissiveness, 35–42.

(74.) Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 52; and Mann, The Power of Song, 69.

(75.) Richard W. Pointer, “The Sounds of Worship: Nahua Music Making and Colonial Catholicism in Sixteenth-Century Mexico,” Fides et Historia 34, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 28; and Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies,” 314.

(76.) Mann, The Power of Song, 84, 91, 93–94.

(77.) Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies.” 313; Mann, The Power of Song, 75; and Alvaro Ochoa Serrano, Mitote, fandango y mariacheros, 2nd ed. (Zamora, Mexico: El Colegio de Michoacán, 2000), 18.

(78.) Tanck de Estrada, Pueblos de Indios y educación, 439; Alfred E. Lemon, “Jesuits and Music in Mexico,” Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu 46, no. 91 (Jan. 1977): 194; Mann, The Power of Song, 89; and Stevenson. Music in Mexico, 58.

(79.) Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies,” 316, 319–321; Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 56, 67–68; and Mann, The Power of Song, 85, 108.

(80.) Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies,” 318.

(81.) Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies,” 315; Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 63; and Pointer, “The Sounds of Worship,” 30.

(82.) Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 58; and Nava Sánchez, “La Voz descarnada,” 39–41.

(83.) Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 67.

(84.) Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 137.

(85.) Truitt, “Adopted Pedagogies,” 315.

(86.) Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 60.

(87.) Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 64, 125, 130, 135–136, 148.

(88.) Turrent, Rito, música y poder, 137, 185.

(89.) Andrew Cashner, “Playing Cards at the Eucharistic Table: Music, Theology, and Society in a Corpus Christi Villancico from Colonial Mexico, 1628,” Journal of Early Modern History 18, no. 4 (2014): 384, 389.

(90.) Stevenson, Music in Mexico, 138–141; and Turrent, Rito, música y poder, 186.

(91.) Ochoa Serrano, Mitote, fandango y mariacheros, 23.

(92.) Carla Gerona, “With a Song in Their Hands: Incendiary Décimas from the Texas and Louisiana Borderlands During a Revolutionary Age,” Early American Studies 12, no. 1 (Winter 2014): 116; and Ochoa Serrano, Mitote, fandango y mariacheros, 53.

(93.) Ochoa Serrano, Mitote, fandango y mariacheros, 50–51; Sergio Rivera Ayala, “Dance of the People: The Chuchumbé (Mexico, 1766),” in Colonial Lives: Documents on Latin American History, 1550–1850, eds. Richard Boyer and Geoffrey Spurling (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 178–184.

(94.) Ochoa Serrano, Mitote, fandango y mariacheros, 31–32, 97–98, 101; Rubial García, Monjas, cortesanas y plebeyos, 164–165; and Rubial García, La plaza, el palacio y el convento, 48, 116.

(95.) Alejandro Martínez de la Rosa, “Las mujeres bravas del fandango. Tentaciones del infierno,” Relaciones: Estudios de Historia y Sociedad 34, no. 134 (Spring 2013): 117–126.

(96.) Ochoa Serrano, Mitote, fandango y mariacheros, 40–43.

(97.) Leonard, Baroque Times in Old Mexico, 78; and Susan Schroeder, Chimalpahin and the Kingdoms of Chalco (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1991).

(98.) Leonard, Baroque Times in Old Mexico, 67, 78–80, 95, 162–163.

(99.) Idalia García and Ana Cecilia Montiel, “Una Vida entre cajones de libros: Felipe Pérez del Campo en la Nueva España 1733–1764,” Estudios de historia Novohispana 43 (July–December 2010): 53.

(100.) García and Montiel, “Una Vida entre cajones de libros,” 54.

(101.) Rosalva Loreto López, “Family Religiosity and Images in the Home: Eighteenth-Century Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico, “ Journal of Family History 22, no. 1 (January 1997), 31.

(102.) Viveros, “El Teatro y otros entretenimientos urbanos,” 479; and Leonard, Baroque Times in Old Mexico, 106.

(103.) Leonard, Baroque Times in Old Mexico, 78, 133.

(104.) Curcio-Nagy, The Great Festivals, 30.

(105.) Curcio-Nagy, The Great Festivals, 21.

(106.) Tanck de Estrada, Pueblos de Indios y educación, 439; Loreto López, “Family Religiosity and Images in the Home,” 28–33; and Charlene Villaseñor Black, Creating the Cult of St. Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).

(107.) González Angulo Aguirre, Artesanado y ciudad, 20–21, 29.

(108.) Susan Deans-Smith, “‘A Natural and Voluntary Dependence’: The Royal Academy of San Carlos and the Cultural Politics of Art Education in Mexico City, 1786–1797,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 29, no. 3 (July 2010): 278–295.