Master : Sounding Images: The auditive dimensions of pre-colonial Mixtec pictorial manuscripts from Mexico


  • Macquoy, Sander
  • Jansen, M.E.R.G.N. (dir.)


Pre-colonial Mixtec codices vividly and colourfully tell about the history and religion of Mixtec polities and have, since the beginning of the 20th century, attracted the interest of many scholars. Indeed, these historical narratives provide a unique window into ancient Mesoamerican concepts of time, history, drama, worldview and memory. Incorporated in these codices are numerous auditive scenes: events in the story line in which musical behaviour plays an important role. The present thesis examines these scenes, aiming to get a more comprehensive and arguably more full-fledged understanding of musical behaviour in pre-colonial Mixtec society. Since musical behaviour plays an important role in the formation of personal as well as social identities, research into musical behaviour of past cultures can contribute significantly to the knowledge about the worldviews of these cultures. Mixtec codices provide excellent means for this, since the stories in these manuscripts not only tell about individual actions and events in a certain time period, but also include important information about how these events related to a wider, socio-cultural context. By means of a novel, comprehensive approach, consisting of an adapted variant of the Critical Discourse Analysis methodology, this thesis analyses auditive scenes from five Mixtec codices: the Codex Bodley, Codex Colombino-Becker I, Codex Selden, Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus I & Codex Zouche-Nuttall. As such, this thesis examines the role of musical behaviour contained in auditive scenes of pre-colonial Mixtec codices on the levels of the text, their conveyance and their socio-cultural context. The results of these analyses show that musical behaviour played an important role in codices at a variety of levels. Indeed, this thesis shows that, on the basis of a bi-directional relationship, textual analyses of auditive scenes in Mixtec codices can provide important tools for understanding the role musical behaviour played vis-à-vis socio-cultural and ideological dynamics. The oral performance (discursive practice) through which the codices’ stories were reproduced, distributed and consumed was the binding element between the codices’ text and the socio-cultural context. On the basis of these findings, recommendations for further research are provided.

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Olivier Jacquot (2020, 1 décembre). Master : Sounding Images: The auditive dimensions of pre-colonial Mixtec pictorial manuscripts from Mexico. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 19 juin 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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