Festival threads: Khipu calendars and mercedarian missions in Rapaz, Peru (c. 1565-1825)

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The introduction of the Christian calendar into Spanish American missionary zones often led to novel forms of calendrical record-keeping as pre-Christian methods of time-keeping were adapted to the Christian festival cycle. Yet while indigenous Christian calendars for Mesoamerica have been well studied, their Andean counterparts remain virtually unknown. This article examines a set of khipus (Andean cord texts) from highland Peru that, according to local ritual specialists, served as annual festival calendars. Research in diocesan archives and the Sixth Lima Provinial Council's unpublished reports (1772) reveals the episodic and intermittent nature of the liturgical worship in colonial Rapaz recorded on these khipu calendars.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-147
Number of pages29
JournalCatholic Historical Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2021


  • Peru
  • Khipu
  • Catholic missions
  • Mercedarians
  • Sixth Lima Provinicial Council


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