The prototype of the Magliabechiano manuscripts : the reconstruction of a sixteenth century pictorial codex from central Mexico




Boone, Elizabeth Hill

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Any study of the religion, calendars, and artistic monuments of the Post-Classic peoples of Central Mexico must draw from the wealth of information presented in the early Colonial documents painted and written shortly after the Conquest by or for Spanish friars and Spanish and Indian historians. However, our understanding of these manuscripts is often incomplete, and in many cases the documents are used uncritically, without a full comprehension of their purpose, originality, or the biases and knowledge of their creators. It is hoped that this study will make the eight existing documents of the Magliabechiano Group more useful tools for examining and explaining the ritual and artistic life of the Indians of Central Mexico. By reconstructing the prototype from which the documents in the Magliabechiano Group ultimately stem, the shared and unique features of the documents in the Group can be separated and the varying knowledge and ignorance of the different scribes and artists are brought into sharper focus. The manuscripts of the Magliabechiano Group can then be viewed as individual and differing interpretations of a specific model.