Codex Borbonicus

Codex Borbonicus

Mexico — 16th century

Created on the eve of the Spanish conquests: an Aztec divination calendar and invaluable testimony to the language, religion, and culture of Mexico before the Europeans arrived

  1. Created on the eve of the Spanish conquest and still completely free of European influence

  2. Rare Aztec priest's manuscript with priceless pictograms on the language, religion, and culture of Mexico

  3. Includes an aztec fortune telling calendar with some parts still to be deciphered and explored

Codex Borbonicus

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Codex Borbonicus

The Codex Borbonicus is a copy of a pre-Spanish illuminated manuscript from the early colonial age, which is now lost today. Therefore, this copy represents the only surviving specimen of this invaluable source on pre-Spanish Mexico. The value of the codex as a source of information about the Mexican language is emphasized by the fact that it serves not only as an illuminated manuscript for calendar information, but also as a work that with certainty originated out of the strong influence of the Aztec capital, almost devoid of any European influence.

Codex Borbonicus

The Codex Borbonicus is one of the most interesting documents dealing with pre-Spanish Mexico in the 16th century. The large-format illuminated manuscript delivers information like no other. The fact that it also provides yet-unsolved mysteries makes the manuscript even more interesting. The style of this Aztec illuminated manuscript is from the high valley region of Mexico before and during the Spanish conquest, its style is uncommonly magnificent. In the evaluation of style, one is dependent upon copies from the colonial age, since all other manuscripts were exported and there is no original remaining. Therefore, the Codex Borbonicus is a copy of a pre-Spanish illuminated manuscript from the early colonial age. The value of the Codex as a source of information about the Mexican language is emphasized by the fact that it serves not only as an illuminated manuscript for calendar information, but also as a work that with certainty originated out of the strong influence of the Aztec capital, almost devoid of any European influence.

Codicology

Size / Format
38 colored pages in leporello folding / 39.0 × 40.0 cm
Origin
Mexico
Date
16th century
Language
Script
Cursive
Illustrations
36 miniatures
Content
Ritual ceremonies and divination calendar of the Aztecs
Previous Owners
El Escorial

Available facsimile editions:
Codex Borbonicus – Bibliothèque de l´Assemblée Nationale (Paris, France)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1974
Detail Picture

Codex Borbonicus

Teotleco Ceremony

Teotleco means "God has come" in the Nahuatl language and is also the name of a festival dedicated to all the Aztec gods. This scene shows the ixiptla or human impersonator of Chicomecōātl, goddess of corn and the harvest, lying on freshly harvested ears of corn covered by white paper with black spots. The blue nose ring and the huipil, a loose-fitting tunic, are typical of this goddess. A gloss below this image says: "Goddess of spells who became a lion and a tiger and other things."

Codex Borbonicus
Single Page

Codex Borbonicus

The 13th Trecena

The 260-day year of the Aztec calendar was divided into 20 trecena, a 13-day period. The 13th trecena was under the auspices of the goddess Tlazōlteōtl, a deity of vice, purification, steam baths, lust, filth, and a patroness of adulterers who is shown on the upper left wearing a flayed skin and giving birth to Centeōtl, the male maize deity and one of the most important figures of the Aztec religion.

By both encouraging sin and presiding over purification, Tlazōlteōtl played an important role in the confession of wrongdoing through her priests. The 13 day-signs of this trecena, starting with 1 Earthquake, 2 Flint/Knife, 3 Rain, etc., are shown on the bottom row and the column along the right side with explanatory glosses in Spanish.

Codex Borbonicus
Facsimile Editions

#1 Codex Borbonicus

Binding: 38 color pages in Leporello folding Commentary and facsimile in book case with leather spine.
Commentary: 1 volume (40 pages) by Karl Anton Nowotny and Jacqueline de Durand-Forest
Languages: English, French, Spanish

K. A. Nowotny, Cologne (in German); codicological description by J. de Durand-Forest, Paris (in French); summaries in English, French and Spanish. 40 pp.
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
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