One of the most typical, revealing products of colonial Spanish culture was the casta painting. This Iberian term means “lineage,” or “race,” and in art refers to the comprehensive representation of mixed-race couples and their offspring. Produced in a series usually consisting of 16 family groups, casta paintings categorize the uniquely complex degree of racial variation that arose within the multiethnic population of the viceroyalty of New Spain, now Mexico. These works were produced almost exclusively in the major artistic and governmental centers of Mexico City and Puebla during the 18th century. About 100 sets of castapaintings survive today from what must once have been a considerably larger number.
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