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Sacred Cloth and Veiled Body: Guadalupe's Tilma and Other Relic-Textiles (lecture)

Date: Sunday, September 11, 2005
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Center, Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; reservations required.

In conjunction with the exhibition Shrine and Shroud: Textiles in Illuminated Manuscripts, Jeanette Favrot Peterson will discuss the role of the tilma cloth bearing the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

About the Tilma Image
The role of the tilma, the cloth on which the Virgin of Guadalupe was said to have appeared, has evolved over time.

To authenticate Guadalupe's miraculous powers, in the early 17th century it was suggested that the cloth had supernatural origins. The image was compared to the sudarium, the imprint of Christ's face on Veronica's veil, which was also said to be "not made by human hands."

In the Guadalupe legend published in 1648, the mantle or tilma (tilmatli in the Aztec language of Nahuatl) of Juan Diego becomes a relic-textile. In 18th-century iconography, the tilma image obscures the body of the seer, Juan Diego, to highlight themes of its celestial authorship and the divine inspiration for the craft of painting.

The Christian significance of sacred cloth/clothing as a second skin that mediates between the corporal and spiritual realms also found resonance in native American traditions.

Juan Diego and the tilma image

About Jeanette Peterson
Jeanette Favrot Peterson is associate professor of art history at UC Santa Barbara and a specalist in pre-Columbian and colonial Latin American art. She has a particular interest in the interchange between pre-conquest America and Renaissance Europe in the 16th century.

Her publications include The Paradise Garden Murals of Malinalco: Utopia and Empire in Sixteenth-Century Mexico (1993) and Precolumbian Fauna and Flora (1991).

Jeanette Peterson