During the Spanish colonization of the Andes, enclosures housing Inca religious women became a near-universal topic for male writers, who used women's sexuality to debate Indigenous civilization, sovereignty, and morality. Eyewitness accounts emphasized enclosed women's labor, obscuring the sexual violence that the conquistadores perpetrated against them. In succeeding decades, the religious functions of women's enclosures inspired imperfect analogies that likened their occupants to Catholic nuns and vestal virgins. Spanish writers eventually incorporated Quechua terms for religious women (mamaconas) who served in temple complexes and oversaw the gendered training of chosen girls (acllas) in other enclosures. New details on women's enclosures appeared at the turn of the seventeenth century, including the first accounts of Christian men of Andean descent. The Inca Garcilaso de la Vega's 1609 chronicle synthesized Catholic, classical, and vernacular approaches, providing an authoritative source that subsequent authors consulted as they reduced Inca institutions to metaphors of gender subordination and conquest.

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