Wills are the most common surviving personal documents from the colonial period, and a growing number of scholars are working to locate and publish wills of indigenous Americans to give us a better sense of the lives and possessions of those formerly neglected by history. Like many of the “Indians” who made wills, Constanza de Escobar was a woman of some means, her parents having been caciques. And like many other wills, Constanza de Escobar’s follows a fairly standard format, with its testament of faith at the beginning, followed by instructions for prayers and burial.
Visual Culture
Constanza de Escobar’s will shares its emphasis on cloth and clothing with other women’s wills from the colonial period. Clothes and fabric lead the list of her personal inventory. Escobar’s clothing is made up a mix of garments, both Spanish and indigenous, suggesting that her daily wear was likewise a mix. Notably, she leaves to her servant Joana Spanish-style clothes, but asks that a “un bestido manta y lliquida” (likely a paired acsu and lliclla) be sold to pay for a robe for a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It is clear from the long and careful descriptions that Escobar accords the acsu and lliclla that they are among the most prized pieces of her wardrobe, and probably the most valuable. Another document in this section describes indigenous women wearing similar clothing a hundred years later, in Quito, Ecuador.

See a portrait of an Andean woman wearing an acsu and lliclla in the Vistas Gallery.

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