Codex Fejérváry-Mayer

Codex Fejérváry-Mayer – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – 12014 M – Museum of the City (Liverpool, United Kingdom)

Veracruz (Mexico)

A pre-Columbian masterpiece with a unique painting style: precious evidence of a lost world, today part of the famous Borgia Group of Aztec manuscripts

  1. A Pre-Columbian manuscript whose precise graphic style distinguishes it among the Codex-Borgia-Group

  2. The ownership history of the manuscript is shrouded in mystery, only the 19th century is well-documented

  3. Among the rarest handwritten documents in existence today, it offers a glimpse into a lost world

Codex Fejérváry-Mayer

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €
(under 1,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Codex Fejérváry-Mayer

In 1901, Prof. Eduard Seler, an Old Mexicanist from Berlin, praised the "fineness and the care in the execution of the drawing and the coloring" of this particular codex from the Borgia Group. It was Seler himself who had identified this group of the few preserved pre-Hispanic documents from Mexico. The Codex Fejérváry Mayer is made on a kind of parchment that was made of deer skin. It is a strip with a total length of 385 cm, divided accordion-like into 22 square tiles. One side represents the night side, as it features the guardians of the night, such as the god of the realm of the dead Mictlan Tecutli. The history of the manuscript's ownership is also obscure in places: it was not until the 19th century that the English antiquarian Joseph Mayer and the Hungarian collector and scholar Gabriel Fejérváry are identified as the namesake owners.

Codex Fejérváry-Mayer

The aesthetics of old Mexican illuminated manuscripts introduce the viewer into the world of reproduction – this access further supports the release of the Codex Fejervary-Mayer as volume VIII of the Codices Selecti by the Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (Academic Printing and Publishing House) Graz. The precise contouring and brilliant colors demonstrate a very precise graphic style comparable to that found within the Codex Laud. The Codex Ferjervary-Mayer is in a folded book form made out of deerskin containing 23 well-used and well-preserved leaves whose stucco coating serves as a base surface for the book painter to work on. With regards to the history of the codex, only the journey from Hungary to England in the 19th century is well-known. The quadratic shape of the Codex Fejervary-Mayer resembles to a large extent, that of the Laud and Cospi; this similarity between the three illuminated manuscripts is further emphasized by the common depiction of the illustrated number “5”. In this regard, a sub-group is created and sets itself apart from the so-called Codex-Borgia-Group.


Size / Format
46 pages / 17.5 × 17.5 cm
44 full-page miniatures
Sacred Aztec calendar
Previous Owners
Gabriel Fejérváry (1780–1851)
Joseph Mayer (1803–1886)

Available facsimile editions:
Codex Fejérváry-Mayer – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – 12014 M – Museum of the City (Liverpool, United Kingdom)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1971
Detail Picture

Codex Fejérváry-Mayer


Also known as Blue Tezcatlipoca because of his skin, Huītzilōpōchtli is a deity of stone, war, sun, human sacrifice, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan, home of the Mexicas, the rulers of the Aztec Empire. They sacrificed captives and slaves to him so that he would protect them from infinite night with his weapon, the fire serpent. His name comes from the word “hummingbird”; warriors and women who died during childbirth were transformed into hummingbirds upon death and went to join him.

Codex Fejérváry-Mayer – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – 12014 M – Museum of the City (Liverpool, United Kingdom)
Single Page

Codex Fejérváry-Mayer

The Five Regions of the World and their Deities

The opening page of this Aztec calendar manuscript is centered around Xiuhtecuhtli, the god of fire, day, heat, and volcanoes whose names can be translated as "Turquoise Lord" or "Lord of Fire". He was considered to be the father of the Gods and dwelled in the turquoise enclosure in the center of earth.

The four cardinal directions of this spiritual map are represented by trees flanked by the “carriers of years”: East is shown at the top with a shaving brush tree, which is used for firewood, handicrafts, and to make a highly intoxicating drink; a cocoa tree represents South; a kapok tree for the North, whose bark can be used as a diuretic, an aphrodisiac, and to treat headaches; the so-called “Hummingbird Tree” represents West at the bottom.

Codex Fejérváry-Mayer – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – 12014 M – Museum of the City (Liverpool, United Kingdom)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Codex Fejérváry-Mayer

Binding: Folding book in half leather case with commentary
Commentary: 1 volume (48 pages) by Cottie A. Burland
Language: German
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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €
(under 1,000€)
You might also be interested in:
Codex Borbonicus – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Y120 – Bibliothèque de l´Assemblée Nationale (Paris, France)
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

Experience More
Codex Borgia – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Cod. Vat. mess. 1 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Codex Borgia
Written possibly in the zone of Puebla-Tlaxcala-Cholula (Mexico) – 15th century

Painted and folded sheets with a total length of almost 11 meters: a richly illuminated testimony to the seemingly strange world of ancient Mexico before the arrival of the Conquistadores

Experience More
Codex Ixtlilxochitl – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Ms. Mex. 65-71 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Codex Ixtlilxochitl
Middle America – End of the 16th century or beginning of the 17th century

A deity for each of the 18 months of the Aztec solar calendar: a detailed Spanish description of the legendary rituals and the culture of the Aztecs with 27 illuminations by different hands

Experience More
Codex Laud – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Ms. Laud Misc. 678 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
Codex Laud
Mexico – 16th century

Of priceless historical value for understanding an advanced civilization that seems strange to us: detailed depictions of the mystical gods of the legendary Aztec empire

Experience More
Tudela Codex – Testimonio Compañía Editorial – 70400 – Museo de América (Madrid, Spain)
Tudela Codex
Mexico – Mid 16th century

Insights into a long-lost world: a unique testimony to the religion, clothing, rituals and language of the Aztecs and one of the most important cultural-historical sources for the time before the colonization of their empire

Experience More
Codex Veitia – Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Biblioteca del Palacio Real (Madrid, Spain)
Codex Veitia
Mexico City – 1755

The calendars, counting methods, and festivals of a past culture: a rare and wonderfully illuminated testimonial to the disappearing culture of the Aztecs

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection