Accepted paper:

From colonial times to the present: understanding the Criollo identity of the bullfighting aficionado of Lima, Peru


Regina Andreassen (James Cook University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses the history of the Spanish style of bullfighting in Lima, Peru, especially bullfights performed in the plaza de Acho of Lima. This paper also examines bullfighting’s role as a valuable tradition, as social unifier, and also as one of the greatest symbols of Peruvian Criollismo.

Paper long abstract:

The capital of Peru, Lima, was founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, historians affirm Lima's foundation was celebrated with a bullfight. Lima's culture is deeply grounded in old Spanish customs and values, and on European and Mestizo aesthetics. Initially bullfights or corridas de toros were performed to commemorate special events such as viceroys' appointments, religious festivities, and national celebrations. Later, in the 18 century, when the Plaza de Acho of Lima was built, bullfights became even more popular, and even though the Limeña society was -and still is- elitist, corridas in Acho attracted a very heterogeneous crowd. In Lima, bullfights have a particular atmosphere, for they show a fusion of Peruvian and Spanish elements that make the bullfighting Feria of Lima very unique. In 1946 the famous Feria del Señor de los Milagros was created, this feria is celebrated every year and now is considered one of the most important bullfighting ferias in the world. Taking this into account, this paper explores the socio-historical processes that shaped and strengthened the role of tauromachy in Lima and its relation to the Criollo identity. It should be noted that since most papers written about Peruvian society focus on indigenous communities, there is not much research on Criollismo and Criollo practices, thus my research draws on my own ethnographic work, and on the works of Peruvian intellectuals, historians, aficionados, painters and other artists, who carefully recorded their experiences and who initially established the relationship between corridas de toros and Criollismo.

panel P059
Topics in the social history of anthropology, in Europe and elsewhere (Europeanist Network)