Skip Navigation

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 × 40 3/16 in., 29 lb. (80 × 102.1 cm, 13.15kg) frame: 36 1/4 x 45 1/2 x 2 3/4 in. (92.1 x 115.6 x 7 cm)  (show scale)
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
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Mexican. From Spanish and Indian, Mestizo (De Español y India sale Mestizo), early 18th century. Oil on canvas, 31 1/2 × 40 3/16 in., 29 lb. (80 × 102.1 cm, 13.15kg). Brooklyn Museum, 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 , 2011.86.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2011.86.1_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2011.86.1_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.