Monday, June 05, 2006

Huexotzinco Codex

The Huexotzinco Codex was written on amatl (fig) paper in 1531 by Nahua Aztec people from just south of Mexico City.

The 8 page manuscript formed part of a submission in a legal suit against representatives of the Spanish colonial government. They had been forcing the Nahua people to make onerous payments of goods and services while Hernando Cortés (who had rights over the Huexotzinco estates) was out of the country.

Cortés joined the Nahua people in challenging the abuses of the administrators when he returned to Mexico. They were successful in their legal case both in Mexico and later in Spain where the King ordered that the majority of the taxed material be returned.

"The document, which combines Christian imagery and indigenous graphic symbols, is a precise accounting of the products and services that the people of Huexotzinco were forced to render as tribute to the new Spanish colonial government. They included corn, turkey, chili peppers and beans, adobe bricks, lumber, limestone and woven cloth. They also included the amount of gold and feathers needed to create a Spanish military campaign banner of the Madonna and Child."

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