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Gallery Text

Mama Ocllo is revered as the cofounder and first queen of the Inka Empire. The accounts of Mama Ocllo are numerous, including narratives of instruction to Inka women on how to build houses and weave cloth. Mama Ocllo and her siblings are believed to be the founders of the city of Cuzco, and they serve as intermediaries between the creator god and humans.

Artists in the Spanish viceroyalties of America (colonies and kingdoms led by a viceroy, or appointed governor, on behalf of the Spanish crown) created regional visual cultures that embraced hybrid histories and politics. In Cuzco, a major center of artistic production in the Peruvian Andes, paintings drew upon local Indigenous cosmologies and expertise in pigments and textiles, while also borro-wing European conventions of pose, gesture, and scale from prints. This variety of influences led to complex com-positions with layered interpretations, demonstrated by this painting.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
TL42095.1
People
Unidentified Artist
Title
Mama Ocllo
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1835-1845
Places
Creation Place: South America, Peru, Cuzco
Culture
Spanish Colonial
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/364389

Location

Location
Level 2, Room 2240, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, The Arts in the Eighteenth–Century Atlantic World
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Physical Descriptions

Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Canvas: 49.2 × 36.2 × 2.2 cm (19 3/8 × 14 1/4 × 7/8 in.)
Frame: 60.3 × 47 × 5.4 cm (23 3/4 × 18 1/2 × 2 1/8 in.)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Collection of Carl & Marilynn Thoma
Object Number
TL42095.1
Permissions

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Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2240 18th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/05/2019 - 07/01/2024