The Sierra Texupan Codex is a pictographic manuscript1 made by native people. It was a book used by the Santa Catalina Texupan community in the Mixteca Alta of Oaxaca to declare income and expenses paid from 1551 to 1564. It is one of many lost ‘community cash books’ that existed in that time and are now missing.
Every folio is divided into columns. In the first column, pictographs are used to represent income or expenses paid; the value is represented in the vigesimal system used by the natives. In the second column, the concept is described in Spanish and Nahuatl languages using Latin characters. In the last column the glyphic values are shown in Arabic or Roman numerals as well as the currency used.
The codex represents a “Mixed Codex”: it contains Nahuatl and Mixtec glyphs accompanied by glosses in Spanish, Nahuatl and Mixtec written using Latin characters. It also has quantities represented by glyphs, and Arabic and Roman numerals. It incorporated European objects, names, pictographic rules and signs. The codex was written on European paper and the ‘amanuense’ or painter used the European water painting or gouache techniques.
This codex is good example of native economic organization in the Mixteca area and the cultural sincretism that took place during the process of colonization.
For further information on pictographic manuscripts and mixed codex see: Luz María Mohar Betancout y Rita Fernández Díaz,“El estudios de los códices” in Desacatos. Revista de Antropología Social, Num. 22: Los códices y la escritura mesoamericana, September-December 2006. [pp. 9-36] p. 16.
Scan of back side