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This section focuses on illustrations of processions, with a particular emphasis on images executed by native artists. From the colorful Maya murals at Bonampak to colonial watercolors from the Andes, the images found here display some of our best visual sources for learning why Pre-Columbian processions took place and who participated in them.

In their scenes of courtly life, the Maya and the Moche artistically rendered processions that occurred long before the Spanish arrived. But processions were also a significant theme in pieces created by native artists after the conquest. In the seventeenth-century Andes, Guaman Poma depicted them throughout his work, recalling the height of the Inca empire. Likewise, anonymous artists in sixteenth-century Mexico painted festival processions in works like the Florentine Codex.

The exhibit items are presented in roughly chronological order, with the Maya and Moche illustrations followed by likely colonial pieces. The curators’ choice image for the exhibit can be found at the end of this section.


Exhibit Items