The tree of Jesse and the "Relación de Michoacán": Mimicry in colonial Mexico

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7 Scopus citations


When the Spanish viceroy Antonio de Mendoza first visited Michoacán, Mexico (about 1539), he commissioned a Franciscan friar to record the indigenous customs of the region. The friar, together with local native nobles and artists, produced the illustrated manuscript known as the "Relación de Michoacán." One of these indigenous artists transformed the European Tree of Jesse, a motif depicting Christ's genealogy, to represent the local indigenous noble family. Such an act of mimicry and appropriation allowed the artist to represent the native nobles as the rightful rulers of Michoacán and to communicate this conviction to the manuscript's colonial audience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-307
Number of pages15
JournalArt Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • History


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