Glass beads from the San Gabriel Tacuba church (México): a bridge between two worlds

2020-04-29T02:46:00Z (GMT) by Andreia Torres

Abstract This work reflects on beads in relationships between Europeans, Africans, and American natives during the conquest and colonization of the New World, most notably the specific impact on the local communities of the Mexico Valley who had not seen artificial glass until the Spanish conquest, and investigates its meaning as an incorporation of the ‘European exotic’ in the Americas. This is an effort to break with a mono-directional view of these phenomena, highlighting indigenous agency, while simultaneously showing the impact of their bodies decorated with beads in later European assessment of these ornaments. To do so, we selectedthe archaeological collection from San Gabriel de Tacuba (Mexico), which presents a complex context in which beads allowed movement between the world of the living and the dead, between pre-Hispanic and viceroyalty culture, or between medieval and modern representations of Europeans.