The Ángel Arcabucero of Colonial Latin America

There is a style of sacred art called "cuzqueño" -- so named because it takes its origins from Cuzco (Cusco) nestled in the heart of the Andes in the South American country of Peru.

Amongst some of the curiosities of this particular school of sacred art includes muzzle-toting (instead of the more traditionally sword toting) angels known as "Ángel arcabucero" (arquebusier angel) dressed in the period clothing of the aristocrats of the Andes.

This particular theme arose in the second half of the seventeenth century and some scholars speculate that it may represent a form of inculturated sacred art as apparently the pre-Christian deities of the region apparently included winged-warriors that would have been familiar to the indigenous peoples of that region.

In some instances, these depictions also included apocryphal archangels which, while repudiated by the Church, maintained their existence in this relatively remote corner of the world.

The Arquebusier angels can be found not only in Peru mind you, but also Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Bolivia -- the latter of which is host to one of the greatest cycle of such paintings, attributed to the 'Master of Calamarcra" in the church of Calamarcra, Bolivia:

With that by way of background, here are some examples of this interesting genre of sacred art coming from colonial South America. 

In another article, we we will at some other examples of cuzqueño, most especially the Madonnas.

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