Tamara Bray's book is an interesting addition to the growing effort to understand religion in the Andes. It complements archaeological studies (by Brian Bauer, Thomas Besom, Johan Reinhard, and others), published idolatry records (compiled by Pierre Duviols, Ana Sánchez, Laura Larco, and Marco Polia), and the analysis of these (by Kenneth Mills, Claudia Brosseder, María Rostworowski, Sabine MacCormack, Mary Doyle, and Frank Salomon). It offers a dozen perspectives on the word wak'a (huaca), defined as a sacred and powerful person, place (shrine, oratory), or thing (statue, image, mummy) capable of acting, speaking, moving, and generally influencing daily life for good or evil.

Recurring themes in the different contributions include wak'as' capricious and ambiguous natures; their power to transform, personify, resuscitate, metamorphose, create, recreate, and metastasize; their linkage of the past and present; and their symbolic representation of imperial power. Of...

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