Colonial Pastoral as Indigenous Protest

In our research, we found an image of an indigenous figure harvesting herbs [fig 1].

Codex-herbgatherer

 

Taken from the Codex Osuna (c. 1565), the larger image of the “herb gatherer” in context appears to be a colonial pastoral scene of a Spaniard directing his laborers [fig 2].

Codex-herbgatherer

However, the Codex Osuna was sent to the Spanish crown by indigenous leader to protest that colonial administrators are forcing labor from and committing “wage theft” against the indigenous people. Thus this image is the documentation of Spaniards stealing the labors of the indigenous peoples without recompense. It is indigenous protest art.