Codex Tulane

Codex Tulane

South Puebla (Mexico) — Mid 16th century

A genealogy in the form of a scroll: the only manuscript with information about the southern Puebla region of Mexico

  1. Richly illustrated scroll from the 16th century

  2. The mid-16th century manuscript presents the genealogy of the rulers of two cities in southern Puebla

  3. This unique specimen is one of the most treasured artifacts owned by the University of Tulane

Codex Tulane

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

The Codex Tulane is one of the most magnificent Mexican illuminated manuscripts and presents the genealogies of the rulers from two cities in southern Puebla. Developed in the early Colonial Era, it is the only preserved illuminated manuscript from this region and is held in safekeeping as a unique treasure in the University of Tulane.

Codex Tulane

A precious document from the realm of the Mixtecs, a neighboring advanced civilization of the Aztecs. Their territory was located between the capital of the Aztec empire Tenochtitlan (on the territory of today's Mexico City) and the present state of Oaxaca, about 460 km southeast of Mexico City. The richly illustrated Codex Tulane quickly makes the differences to the Aztec Empire clear: in their territory, the Mixtecs produced very artistic pottery in characteristically bright, often turquoise shades. The Codex Tulane is nearly 4 meters long when unrolled and contains not only a mythological origin scene, but also the genealogy of two dynasties from Acatlán and Chila over 15 generations of rulers. This deerskin manuscript is the only written source on the Puebla region south of Mexico City. Thus, today it represents the most valuable treasure of Tulane University in New Orleans.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Codex de Huamelulpan
Códice de Tulane
Codex Daza
Huamelulpan Roll
Size / Format
1 scroll / 377.0 × 25.0 cm
Origin
Mexico
Date
Mid 16th century
Script
Cursive
Illustrations
Miniatures including depictions of landscapes, rituals, hieroglyphics, 112 human figures, and a map
Content
Genealogies of the rulers from two cities in southern Puebla
Previous Owners
Church of San Martin Huamelalpan, Oaxaca, Mexico
Felix Munro
Alfred Onken

Available facsimile editions:
Codex Tulane – Latin American Library at Tulane University (New Orleans, USA)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1991
Limited Edition: 200 copies
Detail Picture

Codex Tulane

Chila

This U-shaped body of water with an enthroned nobleman on the left and a perched eagle on the right is a sign that probably represents the Mixtec name for Chila in southern Puebla. The signs for the mythological date “year 5-Reed, day 7-Grass” appear above it. These images introduce a genealogy of the ruling line of Chila consisting of a vertical column with 15 marriage pairs, which is the first of the “king lists” found in this precious manuscript.

Der Codex Tulane
Single Page

Codex Tulane

The Ritual-Mythological Opening Scene

The scroll begins at the bottom with three place signs: a mound with stars, a hill with a bird, and a hill with a coyote, which represent important mythological places or ceremonial sites. In combination with the two dates above them – the year 6-Reed, day 9-Motion and the year 7-Flint, day 1-Motion – they resemble the opening scenes in other Mixtec manuscripts.

Above, offerings are made to two deities associated with the Hill of the Palm Tree, one is shown as a head with a deer helmet in profile on top of the hill and the other is dressed as an eagle diving toward the hill. On the other side of a rectangular trough representing Huajolotitlan in northern Oaxaca, two priests make offerings with one holding a long-handled incense burner.

Der Codex Tulane
Facsimile Editions

#1 Der Codex Tulane

Limited Edition: 200 copies
Binding: The codex is reproduced in the form of a scroll. Paper margin cut according to the original. Stored in a tube.
Commentary: 1 volume (142 pages) by Mary E. Smith and Ross Parmenter
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!
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