In 1583 an image of the Virgin, the work of an indigenous sculptor, was set up in Copacabana on Lake Titicaca, near an ancient cult site of the Inca Sun. It soon attracted Indian and Creole pilgrims and also became known in Europe. United by their devotion to the Virgin, the pilgrims and others who sought her help did so for diverging reasons. In Creole and European terms the cult of the Virgin of Copacabana is explicable in the context of other cults of Christian miracle-working images. Viewed in its Andean context, however, it highlights deep-rooted continuities with pre-Christian observance and the autonomy and resilience of Indian religious and cultural forms.

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