Skulls and purgatory in Peru

by Otto Danwerth



I am interested in how "thanatological cultures" interacted in colonial Peru. After the Spanish conquest in 1532, the Andean ways of death were changed by Catholic funerals and conceptions of heaven, hell and purgatory. The indigenous population of Peru reacted in different ways: in some rural areas they resisted, in villages and towns they adapted to the Spanish way of death. The images show skulls on a cemetery after celebration , and a fresco of purgatory for the Indians in a church (1804).

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