Skip to comments.Unpublished document sheds light on Peru's Inca rulers
Posted on 08/25/2002 7:47:16 PM PDT by vannrox
|Unpublished document sheds light on Peru's Inca rulers
LIMA - An unpublished 19th-century manuscript rescued from oblivion by a collector contains depictions of Inca rulers that clear up centuries-old questions.
The manuscript, entitled "Memories of the Peruvian Monarchy or Outline of Inca History," was written in 1838 by Justo Apu Sahuaraura, a direct descendant of Pachacutec, the last Inca of royal stock.
Born in 1775 to a noble Indian family, Sahuaraura illustrated his manuscript with watercolor portraits of the 17 Inca rulers and included his own.
"Many doubts remained as to what the Incas looked like. We only had more or less reliable descriptions in some historical accounts, but now we know how they wanted to be portrayed," Peruvian historian Javier Flores Espinoza, who has conducted a preliminary study of the work, told EFE.
According to Flores, Sahuaraura, who attained high rank within the Catholic Church, claimed in the book to be a direct descendant of Inca emperors Huayna Capac and Pachacutec.
His account traces the history of the Inca people from the empire through the European conquest and colonial period to the beginnings of the republic.
The manuscript had never been published because "no one had given the illustrations the importance they deserved," Flores said.
In rendering his likenesses, Sahuaraura relied on portraits from the late 16th and early 17th centuries that are no longer in existence.
Though they "appear to be good recent copies," the illustrations are not necessarily accurate depictions of the Incas' features or their clothing and insignias, Flores added.
Of all the emperors appearing in the book, the only ones the illustrator could have seen with his own eyes were Sayri Tupac and Paullu, who are the most realistically rendered.
Of dark skin and soft features, each sovereign appears inside a border wearing the traditional Ilautu - feathered crown - and colorful cloak and carrying the royal scepter.
In his four-part text, Sahuaraura relates the Spanish invasion and Incas' defeat - based on Garcilaso de la Vega's chronicles - Manco Capac's prophecy regarding the eventual defeat of the Spaniards - fulfilled at Ayacucho - a description of the marvels of Cuzco and a list of the Incas and their descendants, ending with the author.
Sahuaraura studied Latin, philosophy and theology at a religious school, was ordained a priest, rose to the rank of canon and financed the building of three churches.
The original manuscript was stolen from Peru's National Library during the 1879 Pacific War with Chile and was sold to a Chilean collector.
Between 1922 and 1924, Sahuaraura's work was again sold, to an Argentine collector, and some time in the 1970s, to Brazilian collector Jose Midlin, who has allowed it to be published, with support by the Telefonica de Peru Foundation.
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