Thèse : Portraying the Mexica past: A comparison of sixteenth-century pictorial accounts of origin in Codex Azcatitlan, Codex Boturini, and Codex Aubin


  • Herren, Angela Marie
  • Keber, Eloise Quinones (dir.)


In the decades following the Spanish conquest of Mexico (1519-1521), indigenous artists painted the codices Azcatitlan, Boturini, and Aubin. Produced in the colonial period but focusing on prehispanic events, they provide lengthy narrative accounts—in pictorial form—of the two-hundred-year Mexica (“Aztec”) peregrination from their ancestral homeland of Aztlan in the twelfth century to their new capital of Tenochtitlan in the fourteenth century.
My dissertation provides a comparative study of these manuscripts. Three of the longest and most detailed of extant pictorial migrations, they exhibit strikingly similar narrative frameworks. Previous studies have concentrated on their historical content to extract information about prehispanic Mexica history. In contrast, my dissertation (Chapter 1) examines them as transcultural colonial art objects, whose shared and unique features can be revealed by scrutinizing their construction, materials, and stylistic features, as well as their content. While their exact origins are unknown, each manuscript possesses its own history and trajectory, circulating over centuries through private hands and government institutions (Chapter 2) after being made by its own artists-scribes (tlaquiloque), whose roles dramatically changed after the conquest (Chapter 3). The following chapters view these migration histories as case studies of changes in the native pictorial tradition that occurred during the sixteenth century. Slight narrative variation as well as differences in materials, construction, composition, and stylistic choices highlight the availability of new materials, means, and patronage (Chapter 4), changes in the representation of time, space, and place (Chapter 5), and shifting modes of communication (Chapter 6). Appendices 1 and 2 provide, respectively, English translations of the Nahuatl glosses of Codex Aubin and Codex Azcatitlan.

Informations pratiques

  • City University of New York, 2005
  • 1 vol. (263 p.)
  • Ph.D : Art History : City University : New York : 2005

OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Olivier Jacquot (9 décembre 2020). Thèse : Portraying the Mexica past: A comparison of sixteenth-century pictorial accounts of origin in Codex Azcatitlan, Codex Boturini, and Codex Aubin. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 19 juillet 2024 à l’adresse

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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