Luis Jaime Castillo Butters (PUCP and Harvard): Priestesses, Queens, “Mandonas” and Witches: 1000 Years of Transformative Female Power on the North Coast of Peru


Monday, April 11, 2016, 6:00pm to 7:30pm


S-216, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, 1730 Cambridge Street

The 2016 Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor in Latin American Studies Lecture

High status burials featuring females embodying the identity of priestesses in the Pre-Columbian Moche liturgy have been found consistently in the north coast of Peru, dating as early as 600 A.D. By Lambayeque times (A.D. 950) elite females seem to have been elevated to the status of Queens, and buried alongside male rulers. Female power was probably extended to the community level, and by the XVI century, when the Spanish Conquistadores took control of this region, female communal leaders, known as Capullanas and Mandonas were ubiquitous. Spanish rule sought to undercut their power and community support through a final transformation of their identities, emphasizing their roles as healers, witches and lascivious women.