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Mixtec Codex Facsimiles and the Borgia Group


Genealogical-Historical Manuscripts

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Early Mixtec pictographic manuscripts, originating from the present state of Oaxaca, form the largest group of existing early Mesoamerican codices, and our facsimile collection too reflects their predominance. Some pre-Conquest Mixtec codices contain genealogical tables of their rulers from the birth of 4 Alligator, the first Lord of Tilantoga in the eighth century, to the last cacique in 1580. Births, marriages and deaths of their lords and rulers, as well as wars, conquests, religious ceremonies and fiests are the most important events represented in these genealogical and historical manuscripts. One does not find scenes from Mixtec everyday life; the focus is on the life and deeds of rulers. Our collection of Mixtec historical facsimiles include the codices Zouche-Nuttall, Vindobonensis, Bodley, Selden , Egerton, Columbinus, and Becker I. These histories served as mnemonic devices aiding oral recitation, and were not primarily intended for transmitting knowledge to distant generations.

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Ritualistic Manuscripts: The Borgia Group

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A group of other codices in a style similar to the pre-Conquest Mixtec histories is commonly called the Borgia Group. The codices do not concern themselves with histories or genealogies, but depict instead ritual beliefs based on the the 260-day ritual calendar, the tonalpohualli. These ritual manuscripts available at Special Collections include the codices Borgia, Laud, Cospi, and Fejérváry-Mayer. These codices are not of Mixtec origin, neither are they truly Aztec, but are from regions between the central highlands and the Mixtec Oaxaca region. Because of their similarity in style, they have been included on this page.

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