The José María Lafragua Historial Library from BUAP presents the two colonial codices from the 16th century: the Sierra- Texupan and the Yanhuitlan. Both were produced in communities of the Mixteca Alta in Oaxaca. They were part of the Puebla Fine Arts Academy’s collection. Its library, archive and engravings were trasfered to the University of Puebla in the 20th century.After the Conquest, a large number of documents were created using European paper as support; they were also created in a different format: the codex, replacing therefore the strips of the folded screen. Texts in latin of Castilian characters were included or in other native languages. Images in European style were also painted; This documents are now known as mixed codices. That is the case of the Sierra-Texupan and the Yanhuitlán.

Codex 1: Yanhuitlán

Codex 2: Sierra

Codex Yanhuitlán
Among the great intelectual goals achieved by the Mixtec prehispanic artists the pictographic writing showed great versatility and was full of aesthetic beauty. These documents represented their conceptual order and structural meaning, thus they were part of their daily life for centuries till they were forgotten in the second half of the 16th Century. Nevertheless, in the palaces and temples of the Mixtec area in Oaxaca, this writing lasted around sixty years after the Conquest when the alphabetic latin writing was used in Mixtec and Náhuatl texts.The Yanhuitlán Codex was made in the 16th Century in a different format: instead of using a typical folding document, it was made like an European Codex. Using pictographs it is remarkable how they included themes from the Colonial period. It is clear they intended to create a modern mixtec book, following the new customs in order to paint a message to be interpreted by the Mixtec lords and the Spaniards. This Codex is one of the most famous hybrid documents from the Mixtec and arab-hispanic cultures, a testimony of the dramatic episodes during the colonization in that area; it describes  historical and economical events that took place from 1520 to 1544. It also let us understand what people had to do in order to find a new sense to their lifes under the new conditions. The José María Lafragua Historical Library (BUAP) shares the 26 pictures under its custody that belonged to the Fine Arts Academy in Puebla around 1891. Other 14 pictures that belonged to the same codex are nowadays under the custody of the Archivo General de la Nación (Mexican General National Archive) and the Francisco de Burgoa Library (UABJO) in Oaxaca; eight and six pictures respectively.Abstract from a text made in 2014 by Sebastián van Doesburg for the book Códice de Yanhuitlán (in press).

Two individuals falling a tree to get wood for the
altar of the church.

Two individuals falling a tree to get wood for the
altar of the church.

Two individuals falling a tree to get wood for the
altar of the church.

Two mixtec lords, 7 Deer and 10
Monkey, leading a comitte formed by
the converted nobles of Yanhuitlán and
the vicar Fray Domingo de Santa María.

Two mixtec lords, 7 Deer and 10
Monkey, leading a comitte formed by
the converted nobles of Yanhuitlán and
the vicar Fray Domingo de Santa María.

Change of authority in Yanhuitlán. On the left:
Francisco de las Casas. On the right: Juan Peláez
de Berrio (or maybe García de Escobar) or the
mayor Luis de Luna, named by the Second
Hearing.

Change of authority in Yanhuitlán. On the left:
Francisco de las Casas. On the right: Juan Peláez
de Berrio (or maybe García de Escobar) or the
mayor Luis de Luna, named by the Second
Hearing.

Change of authority in Yanhuitlán. On the left:
Francisco de las Casas. On the right: Juan Peláez
de Berrio (or maybe García de Escobar) or the
mayor Luis de Luna, named by the Second
Hearing.

Day 10 Jaguar, year 12 flint, 1544.
Yanhuitlán Church. Maybe, the church is
a symbol for the rebirth of the cult under
the management of the friars in
Yanhuitlán since 1544.

Day 10 Jaguar, year 12 flint, 1544.
Yanhuitlán Church. Maybe, the church is
a symbol for the rebirth of the cult under
the management of the friars in
Yanhuitlán since 1544.

For more about of Codex Yanhuitlán click on the image

Codex Sierra
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. Quotation1: 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.

Fifty three pesos spent on the feast of St. Catherine and for the acquisition of cocoa, wine, turkeys, fruit and other stuff.

Fifty three pesos spent during the Holly Week on wax candles, cocoa as well as other stuff for the church and the Tecpan (City Hall)

Seventy pesos spent to buy ten rams from Juan Juárez de Tamazulapan.

One hundred and twenty pesos in meals for the Vicar Maldonado and for other stuff that were required along the year.

Fifteen pesos spent in the meal for the Mayor, the notary and the interpreter when the whole town was gathered.

For more about of Codex Sierra click on the image

Indigenous painters
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