The Drawings of the Cacique de Turmequé: Reclaiming Justice in a Colonial Context

  • Patricia Zalamea Fajardo (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


The son of a Spanish conquistador with the sister of the chieftain of Turmequé, Diego de Tor- res (Tunja 1549 – Madrid 1590) is known for his complaints about the corruption of the officials of the Spanish Crown in the Kingdom of New Granada (which corresponds roughly to mod- ern-day Colombia) and their treatment of the indigenous Muisca population, as well as for his claim to the chiefdom of Turmequé. Classified as a pueblo de indios according to the Spanish territorial organization of the region, Turmequé depended on the jurisdiction of Tunja, a major artistic center, whose own image as a Spanish city was being constructed in the second halfof the sixteenth century. Educated in Tunja, first at the school for mestizos and then at the Do- minican convent, Diego de Torres belonged to a particular colonial elite that occupied spaces simultaneously in both the Spanish and Muisca societies but did not entirely belong to either one. Although the documentation regarding his complaints and travels to Spain has been ap- proached both in literary and legal studies, the drawings that he produced alongside his me- morial de agravios have not received sufficient attention. In addition to two perspectival maps of the region which have been analyzed by Tom Cummins and Joanne Rappaport as part of the literacy imposed onto indigenous people of the Andes, a full-page drawing of a funerary scene representing Diego de Torres’s brother (Pedro de la Torre) on his death bed surrounded by family members and friends stands out for its combination of genres and style. This paper explores the ways in which these drawings functioned as rhetorical strategies that also reflect the struggle of mestizos whose identities were constantly in flux and caught at a crossroads.


Humanismus, Kunst der Kolonialzeit, koloniale Karten, Familienportrait, Vizekönigreich Neu-Granada, Diego de Torres, Turmequé