Codex Totomixtlahuaca


This indigenous pictographic document is a colonial-era map from the Mixtecan, Tlapaneca, and Nahua cultural area in the present-day state of Guerrero, Mexico. It refers, principally, to the settlement called Totomixtlahuacan and states that the document was written in 1584. It is an indigenous colonial map that makes abundant use of Mesoamerican pictorial conventions and includes many texts written in Nahuatl, the most widespread Mesoamerican language. The map describes a geographical area, framed by various identified towns and crossed by two rivers. Different individuals, probably noble landowners, are mentioned in various open spaces. The drawings of plants or animals are not decorative elements: their purpose is to describe the characteristics of the land or of agricultural parcels, or they are in themselves the glyphic names of people and places that also convey their names in Nahuatl. Crosses are used to denote churches. Place names, such as Santo Domingo, are in Spanish. The main text refers to the meeting of the tlahtoani, or lord of Xochitonalan, and various other lords in Totomixtlahuacan, to clarify ownership of the land in this locale. The map is from the collection of CONDUMEX, and was acquired by auction in San Francisco, California, in 1973.

Last updated: May 9, 2013