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From Spanish and Indian, Mestizo (De Español y India sale Mestizo)

European Art

Mexico defines the Caribbean basin’s western border. There, in the eighteenth century, casta (caste) paintings recorded racial mixing through a series of imagined family groups for a largely European audience. In this example, a well-dressed Spanish man, his indigenous wife, and their mestizo child drink pulque, the once-sacred indigenous beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant.

The elaborate classifications and hierarchy of Spain’s caste system, in which white Spaniards were the most privileged, emerged as an effort to impose order throughout the empire on an increasingly diverse society.

México define la frontera occidental de la cuenca del Caribe. Ahí, en el siglo dieciocho, las pinturas de casta documentaron la mezcla racial, a través de una serie de pinturas de familias imaginadas, para un público en su mayoría europeo. En este ejemplo un hombre español bien vestido, su esposa indígena y su hijo mestizo toman pulque, la bebida indígena alguna vez sagrada, hecha de la savia fermentada del maguey.

Las elaboradas clasificaciones y la jerarquía del sistema de casta español, que otorgaban los más grandes privilegios a los españoles blancos, surgieron como un esfuerzo imperial para imponer el orden en una sociedad cada vez más diversa.

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES early 18th century
DIMENSIONS 31 1/2 x 40 3/16 in. (80 x 102.1 cm) frame: 36 1/4 x 45 1/2 x 2 3/4 in. (92.1 x 115.6 x 7 cm)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Bequest of Samuel E. Haslett and Charles A. Schieren, gift of Alfred T. White and Otto H. Kahn through the Committee for the Diffusion of French Art, by exchange
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