The War against Coyoacan


The Tovar Codex, attributed to the 16th-century Mexican Jesuit Juan de Tovar, contains detailed information about the rites and ceremonies of the Aztecs (also known as Mexica). The codex is illustrated with 51 full-page paintings in watercolor. Strongly influenced by pre-contact pictographic manuscripts, the paintings are of exceptional artistic quality. The manuscript is divided into three sections. The first section is a history of the travels of the Aztecs prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The second section, an illustrated history of the Aztecs, forms the main body of the manuscript. The third section contains the Tovar calendar. This illustration, from the second section, depicts the Battle of Coyoacan. Soldiers are shown fighting with war clubs and shields before a burning temple. Soldiers, some of them women, stand on the banks of a river. Also shown are war clubs, the glyph of a hill shown from the side, and dead soldiers. The chief soldier wears a feathered or quetzal headdress. The scholar Jacques Lafaye, the editor of the facsimile edition of the Tovar manuscript, hypothesized that the leader of the soldiers might be Tlacaélel.

Last updated: December 18, 2013