Codex Zouche-Nuttall

Codex Zouche-Nuttall – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Add. Mss. 39617 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)

Mexico — 15th century

An 11-meter-long leporello, now part of the famous Borgia Group of Mayan manuscripts: one of the most comprehensive sources on the history, art, and religion of Pre-Columbian America

  1. One of the oldest and most beautiful Pre-Columbian manuscripts originates from the Mayan domain

  2. Approximately 11-meter-long leporello, painted on both sides with pictograms and ideograms

  3. Together with Mexicanus I and the Codex Borgia, it forms the famous Borgia group

Codex Zouche-Nuttall

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Codex Zouche-Nuttall

As late as 1519, the same year that Hernán Cortés had begun his conquest of Mexico, he sent the Spanish King and Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) two books of the "Yndios," as he wrote, to give his sovereign an insight into the New World. It stands to reason that one of these books was the Codex Zouche-Nuttall, which the conqueror of Mexico considered representative of this type of book, which was unfamiliar in Europe. If it did indeed reach Europe so early, it is a special favor of tradition that this Codex of the Mixtecs is now preserved in the British Museum and is available in a beguiling facsimile edition. The 11-meter-long leporello of deer parchment contains extensive depictions of rituals, but above all historical representations, which include expansive geographical depictions. Their size is characteristic of the codex, making it an exciting source for the history, art, and religion of ancient America in general and the Mixtecs in particular.

Codex Zouche-Nutall

The Codex Zouche-Nutall from the British Museum in London forms, together with the Codex Vindobonensis (Cod. Vindobon. Mexico. 1, Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien) and the Codex Borgia (Cod.Vat.mes.1), a trio of one of the most beautiful old Mexican manuscripts which belongs to the Mayan domain. The Codex Dresdensis (Saechsische Landesbibliothek Dresden, Mscr. Dresd. R 310) is still is not included in this grouping. The opportunity to produce the main Codex for the first time in the form of a true-to-original color reproduction using a photo-mechanical process represents a milestone in the pursuit of a project dating back to 1960 and which represents a door into a vast and all-encompassing source of history, art, and religion from the cultural world of Pre-Columbian America.

Codicology

Size / Format
192 pages / 24.5 × 19.1 cm (total length: 11.2 metres)
Origin
Mexico
Date
15th century
Epochs

Available facsimile editions:
Codex Zouche-Nuttall – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Add. Mss. 39617 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1987
Detail Picture

Codex Zouche-Nuttall

Mesoamerican Ballgame

This sport with ritual associations has been played since at least 1650 BC and stone ballcourts, of which more than 1,300 have been discovered, began to appear a few centuries later. Although the rules of the ballgame have not been passed down, it is believed that the players struck the solid rubber ball with their hips, although some versions allowed the use of forearms, rackets, bats, etc. The incorporation of human sacrifice was a late addition that first appeared in the Classic period.

Codex Zouche-Nuttall – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Add. Mss. 39617 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Single Page

Codex Zouche-Nuttall

Amphibious Attack

Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire, was famously an island city interlaced with a series of canals not unlike Venice. However, this was far from unique, and the conquistador Bernal Díaz del Castillo wrote in his memoirs that he and his men were amazed at how many settlements were built in bodies of water. The most obvious reason for doing so would be for the sake of defense.

Here we see three Mixtec lords in their canoes as they set off to conquer a city on an island. All are armed and extravagantly dressed for war with feathers and animal skins. Several creatures are depicted in the waters below including a curled-up snake and an alligator with prickly spines running from its head down its back and tail.

Codex Zouche-Nuttall – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Add. Mss. 39617 – British Museum (London, United Kingdom)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Der Codex Zouche-Nuttall

Binding: Leporello folding. Together with commentary in half leather case.
Commentary: 1 volume (60 pages) by N. P. Troike and F. Anders
Languages: English, German

Preface in German by F. Anders, Vienna. “Notes on the Codex Zouche-Nuttall” in English by N. P. Troike, Austin. Altogether 60 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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