Ornamental Breastplate

Unidentified maker, Spanish Colonial Alto Peru (near current-day Potosí, Bolivia), 18th century


probably 18th century


Overall: 8 7/8 × 11 1/8 × 1/4 in. (22.6 × 28.2 × 0.7 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Harrington Silver Fund, including gifts from the Estate of John H. Mudie, Class of 1949, in memory of Ernest Martin Hopkins, Class of 1901



Place Made: Bolivia, South America



Object Name

Personal Adornment

Research Area


On view


This lightweight, silver breastplate portrays the 1572 marriage between Inca princess Beatriz Clara Coya and Martín García de Loyola, a Spanish soldier whose uncle founded the Jesuit order. Beatriz was “offered” to Martín as a reward for having captured and killed her uncle, Túpac Amaru. Martín grasps Beatriz’s wrist with considerable force, claiming her body and wealth. In doing so, he asserts Spanish control over Incan lands.Beatriz wears traditional Incan clothing and holds in her right hand a spindle, which symbolizes her as a carrier of royal female lineage. She is surrounded by her servants, one of whom holds a feathered parasol—an object associated with high social rank. This breastplate was likely worked in Potosí, which is in current-day Bolivia, and worn for public display by those who claimed Incan royal descent.

From the 2023 exhibition Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

ARTH 28.01, Global Renaissance, Elizabeth Kassler-Taub, Fall 2021

Art History 20.04, Faith and Empire, Beth Mattison, Spring 2023

First Year Student Enrichment Program - Cultures, Identities and Belongings, Francine A'Ness, Summer 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Art History 40.01, American Art and Identity, Mary Coffey, Fall 2023

Creative Writing 10.02, Writing and Reading Fiction, Katherine Crouch, Fall 2023

Geography 11.01, Qualitative Methods, Emma Colven, Fall 2023

Geography 2.01, Introduction to Human Geography, Coleen Fox, Fall 2023

Geography 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Fall 2023

Exhibition History

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA. Cambios: The Spirit of Transformation in Spanish Colonial Art. April 10–May 12, 1992.

Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, Israel Sack Gallery and the Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 29, 2023-June 16, 2024.

Publication History

Gabrielle Palmer and Dr. Cristina Esteras Martín in Cambios: The Spirit of Transformation in Spanish Colonial Art. Santa Barbara, CA: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, in cooperation with University of New Mexico Press, 1992, 65–66, cat. no. 45.


Private Collection; with Marion Hamilton (dealer), Winters, California; sold to present collection, 2019.

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