The Important Stars Among the Multitude of the Heavens

Timbuktu, founded around 1100 as a commercial center for trade across the Sahara Desert, was also an important seat of Islamic learning from the 14th century onward. The libraries of Timbuktu contain many important manuscripts, in different styles of Arabic scripts, which were written and copied by Timbuktu’s scribes and scholars. These works constitute the city’s most famous and long-lasting contribution to Islamic and world civilization. This early 18th-century text was written to train scholars in the field of astronomy, a science that Islamic tradition traces back to Adam and to the prophet Idris. The author discusses, among many other aspects of astronomy, how to use the movements of the stars to calculate the beginning of the seasons. He also discusses how to cast horoscopes. The work includes a diagram representing the rotation of the heavens.

Venezuela Together with the Southern Part of New Andalusia

Henricus Hondius (1597-1651) was the son of Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612), a Flemish cartographer and engraver who settled in Amsterdam in about 1593 and established a business that produced globes and the first large maps of the world. In 1604, Hondius acquired the plates for Mercator’s world atlas and in 1606 published a new edition of this famous work. Following Hondius’ death in 1612, Henricus and his brother Jodocus carried on the family business. With his brother-in-law Johann Jansson, Henricus continued publication of what became known as the Mercator-Hondius atlas. Shown in this map are Venezuela and New Andalusia, separate provinces of the Spanish Empire that comprise a large part of the territory of present-day Venezuela. The map is in Latin, with place names given in Spanish. Shown on the right side of the map are the Orinoco River and the island of Trinidad.

Native Drummers

This photograph from Haiti shows two drummers playing on elaborately-decorated drums. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common goals and respect for each other’s sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as Canada. The predecessor organization to the OAS was the Pan American Union, founded in 1910, which in turn grew out of the International Union of American Republics, established at the First International Conference of American States in 1889-90.

Creation of the Fifth Sun Festival

The creation of the fifth sun is an important element in Aztec mythology about the origins of the world. This photograph from Mexico of a festival celebrating the creation of the fifth sun shows musicians in costume wearing distinctive headdresses. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common goals and respect for each other’s sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as Canada. The predecessor organization to the OAS was the Pan American Union, founded in 1910, which in turn grew out of the International Union of American Republics, established at the First International Conference of American States in 1889-90.

Aucaner Signal on Apintie

This photograph from Suriname shows a Maroon in a seated position beating an apintie, a drum made out of wood and wild boar skins. Maroon refers to fugitive slaves from the West Indies and the northern part of South America, and their descendants. The Maroon community was especially numerous in Suriname, a former Dutch colony in which many slaves managed to escape to the jungle. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common goals and respect for each other’s sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as Canada. The predecessor organization to the OAS was the Pan American Union, founded in 1910, which in turn grew out of the International Union of American Republics, established at the First International Conference of American States in 1889-90.

The Dancing Style of Aztec Noble Dancers

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, shows a dance of nobles. Two drummers at the center wear the feathered epaulette seen in the portraits of Emperor Moctezuma I and Emperor Moctezuma II. To the right of the drummers are the high priest, wearing a tilma (cloak) with the image of the sun, and soldiers representing the jaguar and eagle military castes. Decorative elements include feathered ornaments. The dance shown was possibly for the festival of Toxcatl, which was held during the month dedicated to Tezcatlipoca, the god of the night sky and memory. The drummers play the teponaxtli (wooden drum), and the ueuetl (drum with a membrane). The nobles wear either the tilma or the simpler maxtlatl (loincloth).