Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)

Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)

Yucatán (Mexico) — Before the Conquista

A glimpse into another, mysterious world rich in symbolism and imagery: one of only four surviving Mayan manuscripts

  1. A true rarity and an insight into the everyday life of the Mayans

  2. Astronomical calendar tables for religious festivals and agriculture give an insight into Mayan daily life

  3. Today, it is the most precious exhibition of the Museo de América in Madrid

Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)

One of only three surviving authentic Mayan codices: the famous Tro-Cortesianus! The enchantment of the culture of this Central American people is brought to life in the gorgeous, mysterious, and superbly illustrated Mayan language. Astrological calculations and prophetic forecasts allow us to draw conclusions about the Maya, their daily life and their religious practices. Coming to Spain in two parts, the exceptional codex – 6.82 meters long when unfolded – counts among the greatest treasures of the Museo de América in Madrid!

Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)

One of only three surviving authentic Mayan codices: the famous Tro-Cortesianus! The enchantment of the culture of this Central American people is brought to life in the gorgeous, mysterious, and superbly illustrative Mayan language. Astrological calculations and prophetic forecasts allow us to draw conclusions about the life of the Maya, their daily life and their religious practices. Coming to Spain in two parts, the exceptional codex – 6.82 meters long when unfolded – counts among the greatest treasures of the Museo de América in Madrid!

A True Picture Puzzle

Enigmatic symbols and wondrous creatures populate the unusual manuscript: snakes, which form a circle, a devilishly grinning gnome with a torch in hand, a dragon with a splendidly-adorned brow, and much more. Additional unknown symbols are recorded and strung in rows between the large miniatures. These symbols are the fascinating script of the Maya, the indigenous peoples of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The Mayan script manages to keep some of its wonderful secrets to itself today!

An Unbelievably Long Codex

The famous Codex Tro-Cortesianus is one of only three surviving Mayan codices in the world. The unusual manuscript consists of a 6.82 meter long, folded piece of agate paper. The Tro-Cortesianus has writing on both sides. It originated from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico sometime in the 14th century, where impressive temple ruins like Tikal or Tulum attest to the grandiose culture of the Maya. Their written documents were completely destroyed, above all by 16th century Spanish conquistadors. Today, only three authentic Mayan codices survive, which are guarded as particularly valuable attestations to the multi-facetted culture of the Maya.

Mystical Predictions, Calculated Exactly

There is, inter alia, a calendar with prophetic predictions and astrologically-based auguries in the famous Mayan codex that gives a glimpse into this fascinating world. Astronomical tables and horoscopes concerning the calculations for the appropriate timing of rituals and agricultural are strung along together. Themes such as hunting and agriculture – beekeeping is particularly important, inter alia, – were considered in this cosmos and provide allusions to the day-to-day of the Maya. Various rituals and ceremonies, including human sacrifice, also make the religious practices of the Maya come alive.

Wondrous Provenance

The Tro-Cortesianus can look back on an eventful history. The manuscript came to Spain from its country of origin in two parts: the first was presumably brought by a conquistador to his Spanish home. This, the so-called Cortesiano-Part of the codex, was discovered in the Extremadura region, where Hernan Cortés, inter alia, made his home. Many famous explorers are associated with the name of this region. The second part of the manuscript was discovered in the 1860’s by Juan de Tro y Ortolano in Madrid. The codex earned the second part of its enigmatic name in this way. Today, the Tro-Cortesianus is the most precious exhibition of the Museo de América in Madrid!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Trocortesiano Codex
Madrid Codex (Maya)
Codex Trocortesianus
Codice Trocortesiano
Codice Tro-cortesiano
Codice Madrid
Size / Format
112 pages / 23.0 × 12.5 cm
Origin
Mexico
Date
Before the Conquista

Available facsimile editions:
Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid) – Museo de América (Madrid, Spain)
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1991
Limited Edition: 980 copies

Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1967
Detail Picture

Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)

Human Sacrifice

Appearing on the edge of a 260-day calendar, this image shows a human sacrifice, specifically by removing the still-beating heart from the chest of the victim. This type of sacrifice was supreme among all others because the human heart was regarded as a superior offering and meal for the gods. It was performed by stretching the victim out over a convex stone that would push their chest upwards, which made it easier for the nacom to remove the heart through an incision below the diaphragm.

Códice Trocortesiano
Single Page

Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)

The Rain Deity Chaac

Although little about his mythological narrative is known, Chaac was the Mayans’ god of rain, thus making him one of the most important Mayan deities. He is depicted with a human body covered in blue, amphibian-like skin as well as a grotesque head with fangs protruding from his mouth and a long, drooping nose.

Chaac was the divine patron of agriculture and according to myth played an important role in opening up a mountain in which maize was hidden. The Mayans believed that thunder was the sound made when Chaac struck the clouds with his lightening axe in order to make the rain. Chaac is often depicted armed for war and taking prisoners because of the violent fury of a thunderstorm resembles the chaos of battle.

Códice Trocortesiano
Facsimile Editions

#1 Códice Trocortesiano

Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid) – Museo de América (Madrid, Spain)
Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid) – Museo de América (Madrid, Spain) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1991
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: The codex is 6.83 meter long and folded like an accordeon. In gray velvet box.
Commentary: 1 volume (136 pages) by Manuel Ballesteros Gaibrois and Miguel Rivera Dorado
Languages: Spanish, English
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: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!

#2 Codex Tro-Cortesianus (Codex Madrid)

Binding: Folding book in half leather case with commentary
Commentary: 1 volume (54 pages + 1 plate) by Ferdinand Anders
Languages: Spanish, English
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.
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