MRR recovered a unique silver artifact from a 1715 wreck site, and while small, it is actually a reflection of the developing cultures in Mexico during the colonial period. The object is likely a button or a decorative boss. There have been many buttons recovered from the 1715 Fleet, however our example shows some unique artistic embellishments. This small object does not display purely European artistic motifs, but rather reflects a design that is also influenced by traditional Amerindian artistic motifs.
Silver Mestizo Artifact - Front & Reverse
Mestizo Art: Mestizo was the word used by the Spanish to denote a person of mixed Spanish and Indigenous blood. Mestizo artifacts reveal iconographic motifs that show clearly the two disparate cultures of European Spanish and Amerindian coming together and mixing--a process known as enculturation. It is through small objects like this that we have the possibility to draw inferences concerning the enculturation process, a reflection of the events that produced the hybridized cultural structure that today’s Latin America would become.
This one small artifact allows us to view through the eyes of the conquered Amerindian people the evolving artistic designs from their daily lives. In reviewing the iconography of this artifact, we can see how both European and Amerindian cultures influenced the other to begin creating the Latin American Cultures that we know today.