Military Ethos and Visual Culture in Post-Conquest Mexico: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Military Ethos and Visual Culture in Post-Conquest Mexico

1st Edition

By Mónica Domínguez Torres


308 pages

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Bringing to bear her extensive knowledge of the cultures of Renaissance Europe and sixteenth-century Mexico, Mónica Domínguez Torres here investigates the significance of military images and symbols in post-Conquest Mexico. She shows how the 'conquest' in fact involved dynamic exchanges between cultures; and that certain interconnections between martial, social and religious elements resonated with similar intensity among Mesoamericans and Europeans, creating indeed cultural bridges between these diverse communities. Multidisciplinary in approach, this study builds on scholarship in the fields of visual, literary and cultural studies to analyse the European and Mesoamerican content of the martial imagery fostered within the indigenous settlements of central Mexico, as well as the ways in which local communities and leaders appropriated, manipulated, modified and reinterpreted foreign visual codes. Military Ethos and Visual Culture in Post-Conquest Mexico draws on post-structuralist and post-colonial approaches to analyse the complex dynamics of identity formation in colonial communities.


Awarded a Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant from the College Art Association, 2011

’Carefully researched and theoretically sophisticated, this study examines the emergency of new military imagery in the context of competing military ideologies - Spanish and Pre-Columbian - in colonial New Spain. From the creation of new heraldic devices with indigenous elements, to the colonial transformation of European heraldry, ruler portraits in Mexican codices, and military imagery in monastic complexes, as well as the martial symbolism of atrial crosses, Domínguez's important study documents the fashioning and refashioning of images associated with two different military cultures in an era of conquest.’ Charlene Villaseñor Black, UCLA, USA

'… this book is well researched, well written, and a welcome contribution. It will surely provoke further discussions about indigenous cultural transitions under Spanish colonialism.' Renaissance Quarterly

'This is a very detailed and carefully researched book, as shown by the very extensive bibliography that concludes it. It paints a fascinating picture of apparently incompatible cultures merging together through a shared system of beliefs in a warrior code. In the process the author also provides much enlightenment on the nature of the martial ethos that existing in each society prior to their joining.' Arquebusier

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Grasping the military ethos of 16th-century Mexico; In the sign of the Cross: the making of new Christian knights; Blazons of Anáhuac and the language of allegiance; The spectacle of war: ancient insignia for the colonial present; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Mónica Domínguez Torres is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Delaware, USA.

About the Series

Transculturalisms, 1400-1700

This series presents studies of the early modern contacts and exchanges among the states, polities and entrepreneurial organizations of Europe; Asia, including the Levant and East India/Indies; Africa; and the Americas. Books investigate travellers, merchants and cultural inventors, including explorers, mapmakers, artists and writers, as they operated in political, mercantile, sexual and linguistic economies. We encourage authors to reflect on their own methodologies in relation to issues and theories relevant to the study of transculturism/translation and transnationalism. We are particularly interested in work on and from the perspective of the Asians, Africans, and Americans involved in these interactions, and on such topics as:

-Material exchanges, including textiles, paper and printing, and technologies of knowledge

-Movements of bodies: embassies, voyagers, piracy, enslavement

-Travel writing: its purposes, practices, forms and effects on writing in other genres

-Belief systems: religions, philosophies, sciences

-Translations: verbal, artistic, philosophical

-Forms of transnational violence and its representations.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / Renaissance