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Tudela Codex

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Dated: 1530 - 1554

Cultural Context: Mexica and Viceroyalty of New Spain style

Origin: Mexico (North America)

Medium: Laid paper, natural pigments

Dimensions: Height = 21 cm; Width, 15.5 cm

Inventory no.: 70400

This is a colonial pictorial codex produced by the school of painting founded by the Franciscans at Mexico-Tenochtitlan (1553). It takes the form of a bound book made of European laid paper, with filigree thread, cardboard covers and parchment lining. It is the only illustrated manuscript that has glosses explaining the pictorial content. It is currently 119 pages long, although the original numbering indicates that it was once 125 pages long. It is a quarto.

It consists of three different works: The "indigenous book" (ff. 11-25), which was produced by tlacuilos (Indigenous painters) between 1530-1540, which maintains the pre-Hispanic style without European influence; the "European painted book" (ff. 1-2-4-9), produced after 1554 by a Western-educated painter influenced by the Renaissance; and the "European written book", in which an anonymous European commentator explains the two previous works.

The codex’s general content deals with Aztec or Mexica religion, with the following sections: 1) Xiuhpohualli, or cycle of eighteen months plus two movable days; 2) List of gods of the drunk; 3) Cycle of the god Quetzalcoatl; 4) Gods of the underworld, curative rites, forms of burial and worship of the god Mictlantecutli; 6) Xiuhmolpilli, or 52-year cycle; 7) Tonalpohualli, or 52-year cycle.

A facsimile is exhibited for conservation reasons.