ANDEAN METAPHYSICAL CONCEPTS AND THE ROLE OF IMAGERY IN CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION
This article aims to contribute to the discussion about social and ideological change in the Andes and the impact that religious images may have had on it. It refers to my understanding of ethnographic material collected in northern Chile on the highlands of Tarapaca (3.800-4.200 m.), among Aymara people. The outcome of several years of participant observation beginning in mid-1978, remained largely unpublished. Nowadays most of the Aymara population of Chile lives in towns and are no longer herders and subsistence agriculturalists. I suggest that some ideological processes of which I became aware at that time had great impact on social changes that occurred since, which justifies reviewing them at present. Based on ethnographic material and secondary data I bring about similarities between native Andean ideological concepts with Catholic theology prevalent at the time of Evangelization. Religious images were a privileged means by which the Church attempted the conversion of illiterate Indians and the "material evidence" of the teachings left behind, once the priests abandoned the territories. Elsewhere I analyzed in depth how ritual, more precisely "ritualization" made possible the appropriation of foreign material and ideological elements. In this paper, I mention how fiestas de santos provide an occasion to enact ritual, particularly the "ritual stance" and thus provides an occasion for the appropriation of foreign symbolic elements. Finally, I present four examples of resemblance between Andean and ancient Catholicism beliefs as represented graphically. These are the human soul, the Scaling to Heavens, the Virgin Mary and the origin of rain, and Saint Barbara's representation of Saint James1.