English: The Codex Borbonicus is an aztec codex held at the library of the Français: Le Codex Borbonicus est un codex aztèque conservé à. The Codex Borbonicus is thought to be the only one whose style matches the pre -Conquest Náhuatl style, nevertheless it is considered to be a colonial copy. Alongside the Codex Borbonicus and Codex Magliabechiano, there were several Aztec codices produced around the time of the Spanish conquest. Some were.

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I t was May and France was celebrating the first anniversary of the coronation of Charles X. French troops had occupied Spain; Mexico had gained its independence and Latin America was in turmoil. But, sitting in his office in the library of the National Borbnicus, deputy-curator Pierre-Paul Druon was feeling pleased.

For the past 30 years this former Benedictine monk had laboured to track down rare works and add codes to the 12, items inherited from the French Revolution and ckdex entrusted to parliament. Never before had he had the opportunity to acquire such a treasure, even if the source of the Nahuatl manuscript he purchased for 1, gold francs at auction was unknown and two of its pages were missing. He was, nevertheless, convinced of its worth.

The document, in its present state, is 14 metres long, comprising 36 fan-folded sheets, each 39 sq cm. It represents several hundred brightly coloured figures and creatures, each of particular significance. Then come the religious ceremonies associated with the 18 day months that make up a year.

Here again, priests wearing flayed human skins, desiccated hands falling loose at their wrists, present sceptres and shields to sacrificial victims who will be skinned to hail new growth. Elsewhere they dance round the ritual xocotl tree, in borbonlcus end-of-year offering to the flowers. It is one of six documents — an original parchment dating from the trial of Joan of Arc, a ninth-century Bible, two Rousseau manuscripts and the Serment du Jeu de Paume Tennis Dodex oath — that have not been allowed out of the country since the s.


Or, as suggested by the catalogue of a exhibition at Quai Branly, is it a colonial-era manuscript, resulting from the clash coedx Meso-American and western cultures? This is a technical and scientific challenge in itself, because the research must be carried out in a strong room under the parliament, at a constant temperature of 18C.

Interest in the Codex goes beyond conservation. Pre-Columbian documents describing the beliefs and rites of Mesoamerican civilisations, between central Mexico and Costa Rica, are extremely rare. Very few survived the Spanish inquisition. Now only about 20 pre-Columbian Mesoamerican documents remain.

Only five of these, belonging to the Borgia group, are categorically genuine. The majority of them have been shown to be of Mayan or Mixtecan origin.

Codex Borbonicus « Facsimile edition

None were produced by the Aztec empire or in its main language, Nahuatl. The aim was to gain a better understanding of the history and customs of the native peoples the Spanish sought to govern and convert. Where does the Codex Borbonicus fit in?

But there is no proof of this and the year of its purchase by the French parliament,coincides with unrest in Latin America, which may explain why the manuscript came up for sale in Europe. But other experts maintain that it is a copy of a pre-colonial original. They cite its size — larger than other known codices, which were designed to be portable — the grid pattern on some pages and empty spaces set aside for comments in Spanish.

Some go so far as to claim that a particular scene represents the crucifixion. If it is a copy, it would have been produced just after the Spanish conquest, but using traditional techniques. Pointing out the differences in style and colour between the first and second part of the codex, some commentators have suggested that it is a composite work, either finished after the conquest or a marriage of two distinct works.


However, on two points there is consensus: If not, it may contain traces of materials imported from Europe by the Spanish.

None of the known dating techniques, even using carbon, is accurate enough for that. Instead, the Patrimex system is being used. Work borbonicsu on the manuscript at the beginning of September.

The Patrimex hyperspectral imaging system operates in a series of spectral bands ranging from the visible to infra-red and will photograph the Codex in bands. With digital processing, researchers should be able to discover the characteristic spectrum of each organic dye and the paper itself, probably amate. This was made with fig-tree bark coated with gypsum.

By comparing individual pages, and others made using traditional techniques but artificially aged in a laboratory, the scientists hope to settle the question of European input.

File:Codex Borbonicus (p. 4).jpg

Would this be a recognition of failure? Organic pigments have a special texture and brilliance that suited the aesthetic standards of the Aztecs — a beautiful colour should be bright. So boorbonicus that the Codex Borbonicus, the only Aztec manuscript we have that might be pre-Columbian, was really made in the traditional cldex would be really great news. This article appeared in Guardian Weekly, which incorporates material from Le Monde.

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