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Telleriano-Remensis | Vaticanus A
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The variety of documents we encounter in the category of "Aztec Writing" includes just a couple of native paper screenfolds, and a great number of manuscripts written after the conquest by native scribes and informants. This page is a list of what I would consider to be key documents. (If you have any suggestions as to what else might be included, send me an email.)
The word Aztec was invented by a 19th century writer; perhaps the word was used to sanitize or distance the historical people from their progeny. The people encountered by Cortez were known as the Mexica, leaders of the Triple Alliance. They were the most powerful of many ethnic groups that made the valley of Mexico their home. We know a great deal about them from the early ethnographic works of Sahagun and other Spanish priests.
There are several documents that have spanish commentary and frequently nahuatl glosses accompanying picture writing used by the natives. There are many other documents to explore written purely in Nahuatl or other Uto-Aztecan languages using european characters, but those will have to wait to be explored on another page.
What follows herein is a loose aggregation of information about surviving examples of Aztec writing that follow a pre-conquest pictorial tradition, dating primarily from the 16th century.
The above image has been scanned from the book Codex Mendoza : Aztec Manuscript, edited with commentaries by Kurt Ross, copyright 1978 / 1984
Productions Liber,S.A., Fribourg, Switzerland.(Used without permission)
The images below from the Mendoza, Telleriano-Remensis & Ixtlilxochitl
come to us from a very useful site called Aztec Codices at Rice University.
Thanks to Rice University and SMC for putting these images on the web.
(Unfortunately, I've had considerably difficulty accessing this site lately.)
They were scanned from Painting the Conquest : the Mexican Indians
and the European Renaissance by Serge Gruzinski, copyright 1992
Flammarion, Paris, France.(Also used without permission)
Other images are taken from their corresponding hyperlinks,
with the exception of my original transparent GIFs.
All rights reserved; not to be used for commercial purposes.
Both of the books are highly recommended,
but especially Painting the Conquest !
Native paper screenfold painted on one side
A like facsimile accompanies the latest edition in the Codices Mexicanos series from Fondo Cultura Economica with a superb commentary, and continues to reflect their dedication to first class scholarship.
Amatl paper screenfold painted on one side. 21 and 1/2 leaves.
Published in Kingsborough Antiquities of Mexico Volume I.
Amatl paper screenfold painted on one side.
21 and 1/2 leaves.
Published in Kingsborough Antiquities of Mexico Volume I.
Edited & translated by James Cooper Clark 1938 London, Waterlow & Sons. With listing, etymology, and identification of 612 place glyphs, index, and glossary. The original printing of the 1938 color facsimile reproduction and English translation was partially destroyed when the warehouse containing inventory copies was damaged by fire.
Color Facsimile reproduction, 3 Vols. Mexico City, Archivo General de la Nacion, 1979.
Black and White Facsimile Edition and English translation of Nahuatl by Dibble & Anderson, 1950-69 (twelve volumes), published by University of Utah Press, available from Amazon.
by R. Joe Campbell of Indiana University is available online.
Mexican manuscript of the office of the Ar. M. le Tellier, Archbishop of Rheims, now in the Biblioteque Nationale (MS Mex. 385) E.T. Hamy Paris 1899. Also published in Kingsborough Antiquities of Mexico Volume I; transcript of Spanish text published in Volume V.
The latest scholarship and a facsimile of the document can be found in the book Codex Telleriano-Remensis : Ritual, Divination, and History in a Pictorial Aztec Manuscript by Eloise Quinones Keber.
of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis by Eloise Quinones Keber
You can also place an order online at Amazon.Com
where you can peruse the Table of Contents.
European paper codex.
Vatican mexican manuscript #3738. Facsimile published by Duc de Loubot with the permission of the Vatican Library, Rome, 1900. Also published in Kingsborough Antiquities of Mexico Volume II; transcript of Italian text published in Volume V.
Right: Folio 105R
Below: Folio 106R
Nezahualcoyotl, Lord of Texcoco
European paper codex (Spanish / Nahuatl).
First edition hand-colored lithograph circa 1849-1851 by Joseph Marius Alexis Aubin. Facsimile reproduction, edited and translated by Charles E. Dibble Madrid 1963.
European paper codex (Nahuatl / Latin). 63 folios, painted on
Amatl paper. 238 by 168 cm.
"Discovered by anthropologists in 1992 in the Nahua and Totonac
now back online with pages specific to Post-Conquest Nahua Codices
and a fine presentation on the Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca. There are also chapters from Sahagún's Book 6 and Book 12 from "Historia General de las cosas de Nueva Espana", and a Mexica Perigrination page, all of which should be of great interest to readers of this page. I'm sure you'll enjoy this site at the University of Michigan.
these resources available on the Web.
at Austin - Benson Library Relaciones Geográficas Collection showcases their manuscripts with dates ranging from 1578 to 1586. Kudos to this institution for making these resources available online - I hope more libraries follow their lead and bring important historical materials like these to light via the World Wide Web.
pointing my browser in this direction.)
For a lot more information on the Aztecs and Mexico in general,
visit the Aztecs History Page for students, social studies
teachers, and anyone interested in the Aztecs.
For more Web resources related to Aztec Writing, visit
the Nahuatl Home Page at the University of Montana.
Also, check out my pages on the Borgia Codex Group.
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