Manuela Águeda García Garrido

Missionary ethnography projects in the Philippines (1677-1689). Typification, seizure and restitution of idolatrous objects

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Philippines, Missionary ethnography, Material culture, Heathenism, 17th century

Scholarship has paid little attention to the regular clergy’s ethnographical understandings in the making of a new model of Catholicism in the Asian colonial space. The article investigates indigenous material culture in the Luzon province at the end of the 17th century. It will start from a report written by Dominican Archbishop Felipe Pardo on September 1, 1685, in Manila, after having dealt with some papers which had been sent to him by fray Juan de Todos los Santos. The report contained some inquiries concerning the instruments and materials that the natives of those towns used to sacrifice to their idols, called Anitos. These untapped sources today kept in the Archivo General de Indias provide the opportunity to become acquainted with the names of the original indigenous instruments, their functions and purposes, their circulation within and outside families, and the indigenous people’s strategies to avoid their confiscation by the missionaries. The article will also pay attention to 1) the indigenous capacity of resistance and assimilation through their own material universe; 2) the Hispanic Church’s religious syncretism in the face of the impossibility to eradicate the pagan practices of the Zambales, the inhabitants living in those places

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