The Influence of Indigenous Artistis in the Maps of the Relaciones Geográficas
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In the late sixteenth century the Spanish cosmographer López de Velasco ordered maps of cities and towns in America to be produced and returned to Spain to gain a more accurate understanding of Spanish territory in the New World. His instructions known as the Relación Geográfica questionnaire was disseminated to local officials in towns across the Viceroys of New Spain and Peru. In some cases Spanish government officials living in the Americas enlisted indigenous artists and cartographers, particularly those in New Spain. As a result, the maps vary in distinct ways from Spanish and European maps of the same time period. By analyzing the differences in the two types of maps, it becomes possible to gain a unique perspective into spatial viewpoints of native peoples in early colonial America. My research is aimed at describing specific spatial patterns of representation used by indigenous artists in depicting early Latin American towns. These maps communicated many aspects of indigenous art and thought back to the Iberian Peninsula.