Mexican Painted Manuscripts in the United Kingdom

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Author: Berger, Uta

Year: 1998

Publisher: The British Museum

Place: London


vi+155 pages with maps, diagrams, illustrations and glossary. Quarto (11 1/2" 8 1/4") bound in original pictorial wrappers. British Museum Occasional Paper, number 91. First edition.

For several centuries Mexican pictorial manuscripts have been a subject of interest. Learned men of letters incorporated the documents into their libraries. The first example of books in Mexican pictorial script were sent to Europe by Heran Cortex and were regarded mainly as curiosities. In New Spain pictorial writing continued in use for a long period after the Conquest. In early Colonial documents both writing systems, the pictorial and the alphabetic, were often combined. Later, documentation written in Roman letters gained more importance. Over the centuries a limited number of pictorial documents - prepared in different regions and at different times - have survived, giving us a vivid and colorful picture of Indian culture. The United Kingdom is fortunate in having a substantial collection Mexican manuscripts which are housed in various institutions. The history of their acquisition is often connected with famous collectors and/or persons of public interest, but a characteristic common to many of the documents is that we do not know their authors or first owners. Publication of any of the manuscripts did not take place until the seventeenth century. Pictures of several codices were compiled and published by Alexander von Humboldt in 1810. The main work of publication however, was undertaken by Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough, who published mos the the then known codices in his monumental work Antiquities of Mexico, comprising Facsimiles of Ancient Mexican Painting and Hieroglyphs, between the years 1831 and 1848. In the second part of the nineteenth century one of the leading scholars at this time was Eduard Seler, who, with the financial help of the Duc de Loubat, published several facsimiles with commentaries. In here is all know codices currently located in the United Kingdom.


A near fine copy.

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