Pinturas de castas [casta paintings].
- Magali M. Carrera
Paintings that depict the offspring resulting from the unions of Spaniards and Indians, Spaniards and Blacks, as well as Blacks and Indians who inhabited 18th-century New Spain (Mexico). Typically produced in sets of 12–16 separate panels, although single panels are known, the paintings were produced predominantly in New Spain (Mexico City and Puebla). These images located race at the intersection of the physical, economic, and social spaces of late colonial Mexico.
Social identity in colonial Mexico was embedded in the notion that the kingdom of New Spain consisted of two separate Republics: república de los españoles and república de los indios. New Spain, however, was populated by various racial and ethnic groups, with the three most commonly recognized of these groups being Indians, Spaniards, and black Africans, who were brought to New Spain to fulfil certain labour needs. The mixing of blood produced a tertiary, intermediate people identified as castas...