Codex Magliabechiano

Codex Magliabechiano Facsimile Edition

Mexico — Mid 16th century

An invaluable testimony to a lost culture, provided with an early Spanish commentary: the ceremonial clothing and rituals of Mexico's indigenous people

  1. An important source on the ceremonial dress and rituals of the indigenous population of Mexico

  2. Patterns of ceremonial dress, alcoholic beverages, mountains, rain, and the gods of the dead are detailed

  3. A detailed Spanish commentary adds even more value to this mid-16th century document

Codex Magliabechiano

Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Codex Magliabechiano

Documents from the early days of Spanish colonization not only provide valuable information about cultures that were quickly going extinct, but also about the perspective of the conquerors. The Codex Magliabechiano is just such a manuscript and is an important source on the ceremonial dress and rituals of the indigenous population of Mexico. It features elaborate illustrations with topics as diverse as coats, gods, and alcoholic drinks.

Codex Magliabechiano

The Codex Magliabechiano comes to us from the library of Antonio de Marco Magliabechi and is one of a number of post-Columbian Mexican illuminated manuscripts from around the middle of the 16th century. A calendar of religious knowledge is shown in the characteristic broken style of the early colonial age and is painted on European paper. The precious value of this manuscript comes from the inclusion of a detailed Spanish commentary. The patterns of ceremonial coats are illustrated and followed by a depiction of the 20 symbols of days and a calendar cycle of 52 years. Included in this are a series of monthly celebrations. Pulque (an alcoholic drink from the maguey plant) and the gods of the dead, mountains, and rain are all elaborately illustrated; as well as ritual celebrations of the dead and healing of the sick. Finally worth mentioning is the presentation of the four divinities whose costumes formed a part of a Mexican gift to Cortes in 1519.


Alternative Titles
Codice Magliabechiano
Manuscript Magliabechiano
Book of the Life of the Ancient Mexicans Containing an Account of Their Rites and Superstitions
Size / Format
186 pages / 21.5 × 15.5 cm
Mid 16th century
Cursive Gothic Textura Rotunda
99 miniatures
Ceremonial dress and rituals of the indigenous population of Mexico
Previous Owners
Antonio de Marco Magliabechi (1633–1714)

Available facsimile editions:
Codex Magliabechiano – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Florence, Italy) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1970
Detail Picture

Codex Magliabechiano

Aztec Priests Appeasing Mictlāntēcutli

In the Aztec religion, Mictlāntēcutli is the God of the Dead and King of Mictlan, the lowest and northernmost section of the underworld. These two Aztec priests are engaged in a form of self-sacrifice whereby they pierce their tongues and earlobes with large knives in order to appease Mictlāntēcutli. Their arms and legs also appear to have been penetrated in multiple places. The worship of this fearsome god, one of the Aztecs’ chief deities, sometimes required ritualized acts of cannibalism that involved consuming human flesh in and around the temple. As such, some of the blood covering the two priests may not be their own.

Codex Magliabechiano
Single Page

Codex Magliabechiano

A Tzitzimitl

One of the Aztecs’ most feared mythical demons is a Tzitzimitl, plural Tzitzimime, which bring death and destruction to mankind and take revenge on all enemies. Generally regarded as female beings, these dualistic skeletal figures were also associated with fertility and as such were worshipped by midwives and expectant mothers. There are also parallels between the Tzitzimime and the fallen angels of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

The goddess Itzpapalotl is the leader of the Tzitzimime and ruler of Tamoanchan, a paradise where humans are created and according to legend, they expelled from this paradise because of their sins. Banished to live in the darkness of the firmament, these star demons lie in wait like spiders for a solar eclipse, when they can descend to earth and possess men, and also have a role to play in the Aztec conception of the apocalypse.

Codex Magliabechiano
Facsimile Editions

#1 Codex Magliabechiano

Binding: Folding book in half leather case with commentary
Commentary: 1 volume (78 pages) by Ferdinand Anders
Languages: English, German, Spanish

Introduction (in German), summaries (in English and Spanish)
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
Price: Login here!
You might also be interested in:
Hours of Mary of Burgundy Facsimile Edition
Hours of Mary of Burgundy
Ghent or Bruges (Belgium) – 1470–1480

For the daughter of Duke Charles the Bold: a testimony to the wealth and artistic refinement of the Burgundian court

Experience More
Mary Stuart's Book of Hours and Execution Warrant Facsimile Edition
Mary Stuart's Book of Hours and Execution Warrant
Ghent or Bruges (Belgium); London (United Kingdom) – Early 16th century; February 1st, 1587

Queen of Scotland, France and (in truth) England: Mary Stuart's book of hours, together with the certificate of execution signed by Elizabeth I

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection