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The virgin of the Andes: Inka queen and christian goddess

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Chapter Summary

The role of female deities in the Andes was reaffirmed in the native myths and legends recorded by the Spanish chroniclers of the early conquest period. By incorporating the imagery and symbolism associated with these female deities and other royal personalities, the colonial image of the Virgin Mary assumed new significance as an Andean, rather than a purely European/Western, deity. The Virgin in her identification with Pachamama maintains the Inka people’s great reverence for nature, which they worshipped on a daily basis. The reverence for Mother Earth is complemented by the worship of the Moon as a female deity associated with the cycles of nature and of women. The image of the Virgin Mary in association with Pachamama and the Moon is clearly revealed through signs and symbols incorporated within the Christian iconography.

Keywords: Andes; Christian iconography; Inka; Pachamama; Virgin Mary



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