Get Cycles of Time and Meaning in the Mexican Books of Fate (Joe PDF

By Elizabeth Hill Boone

ISBN-10: 0292795289

ISBN-13: 9780292795280

In groups all through precontact Mesoamerica, calendar monks and diviners depended on pictographic almanacs to foretell the destiny of newborns, to steer humans in picking marriage companions and auspicious marriage ceremony dates, to grasp whilst to plant and harvest plants, and to achieve success in lots of of life's actions. because the Spanish colonized Mesoamerica within the 16th century, they made a decided attempt to damage those books, within which the Aztec and neighboring peoples recorded their figuring out of the invisible international of the sacred calendar and the cosmic forces and supernaturals that adhered to time. this present day, just a couple of of those divinatory codices live on. Visually complicated, esoteric, and strikingly attractive, painted books akin to the well-known Codex Borgia and Codex Borbonicus nonetheless function portals into the traditional Mexican calendrical structures and the cycles of time and which means they encode.

In this entire research, Elizabeth Hill Boone analyzes the whole extant corpus of Mexican divinatory codices and provides a masterful clarification of the style as an entire. She introduces the sacred, divinatory calendar and the calendar monks and diviners who owned and used the books. Boone then explains the picture vocabulary of the calendar and its prophetic forces and describes the organizing ideas that constitution the codices. She indicates how they shape almanacs that both supply basic function information or concentration topically on particular features of existence, equivalent to start, marriage, agriculture and rain, go back and forth, and the forces of the planet Venus. Boone additionally tackles significant components of controversy—the nice narrative passage within the Codex Borgia, which she freshly translates as a cosmic narrative of production, and the disputed origins of the codices, which, she argues, grew out of a unmarried non secular and divinatory procedure.

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Additional resources for Cycles of Time and Meaning in the Mexican Books of Fate (Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture)

Example text

A 365-day cycle or xihuitl (meaning ‘‘year’’), basically a civil year, ran independently. Consisting of eighteen ‘‘months’’ of twenty days with an extra five days at the end, the xihuitl did not figure in fate reckonings. Twenty-Day Count The twenty-day count is the basic count. The Nahuatl word for twenty is simply cempohualli or ‘‘one count’’ (Seler 1900–1901:16; Sullivan 1988:151). This is the count of days enumerated in the half-light of creation according to the cosmogonies, and this is the count that carries most divinatory content.

When Sahagún (1953–1982, bk. 4:30) describes the bad sage and the bad physician, he uses the terms ‘‘sorcerer’’ and ‘‘soothsayer’’ in a couplet (naoalli tlapouhqui ) to characterize them as deluders and deceivers. 29 In his listing of the ‘‘bad women,’’ he includes the female diviner and curer after the prostitutes and procuresses (Sahagún 1997:217–218). 30 This malevolent characterization of the sorcerer and diviner largely reflects the friars’ unease with these kinds of individuals, who were culturally important to Aztec society but fundamentally antithetical to the friars’ Christian mission.

In these codices the days were visually displayed in different permutations according to the multiple cycles of the calendar, along with the mantic influences pertaining to them. The books also contained astronomical and medical knowledge, cosmological truths, and insights into omens and prophecies, as well as protocols for rituals both simple and complex. The books themselves were objects crafted of either deer hide or bark paper (amatl in Nahuatl), generally organized as a screenfold (Fig. 19 To achieve this screenfold, individual sheets of hide or paper were attached together as a long strip, then folded back and forth like a screen and coated with a white gesso; the images were painted, usually on both sides.

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Cycles of Time and Meaning in the Mexican Books of Fate (Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture) by Elizabeth Hill Boone


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