Killing images : iconoclasm and the art of political insult in Sixteenth and Seventeenth century Portuguese India
Title: Killing images : iconoclasm and the art of political insult in Sixteenth and Seventeenth century Portuguese India
Author: FLORES, Jorge
Citation: Itinerario, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 461-489
The article builds on a succession of visually disturbing events that occurred in Goa—the capital city of Portuguese India—during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From the early years of the Portuguese conquest (1510), Goa went through a redefinition of its urban space, which implied the appropriation and re-semantization of buildings and other key sites of the old Muslim city. This process included the spread of images and symbols related to several Portuguese viceroys, soon-to-be targets of acts of political insult and even political iconoclasm performed by their Portuguese opponents in a context of growing factionalism. We speak namely of episodes of protest against places of memory associated to different clans, encompassing statues (both official and bogus), textual inscriptions, and viceroys' portraits. These were European phenomena to a large extent, but coloured by significant local and native elements. The article engages with a grid of questions that places real statues, satirical effigies, and erased faces (and the diverse reactions they have aroused) in dialogue with current debates on popular politics; high and low vis-à-vis the colonial social fabric; the uses of public space; verbal, written, and visual insult; political languages; and disputed authority in an imperial setting.
Published online: 31 December 2018
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