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The Bodleian Library’s Mesoamerican Manuscripts

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1 The Bodleian Library’s Mesoamerican Manuscripts
Chris Fletcher, Head of Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library, Oxford

2 Bodleian Library 1327 – University Library being built
1488 – Duke Humfrey’s Library 1550 – Denuded of books by Henry VIII reformers 1602 – Refounded by Sir Thomas Bodley 1610 – Deposit Agreement with Stationers’ Over 400 years of concerted collecting, cataloguing and reading

3 The Bodleian Today Largest university library in Europe
Second largest in UK 9 million books 33 km Special Collections Many buildings across the city Major redevelopments occurring Weston Library: dedicated to Special Collections

4 The Bodleian’s Mexican Treasures
All acquired C17 Three screenfolds: Codex Laud. MS. Laud Misc. 678 Codex Bodley. MS. Mex. d. 1 Codex Selden. MS. Arch. Selden. A. 2 One roll of native amatl paper: The Selden Roll. MS. Arch. Selden. A. 72 (3) One European-style book on imported European paper: Codex Mendoza. MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1

5 Codex Laud (MS Laud Misc. 678)
Acquired 16 June 1636 Donated along with many mss from William Laud, archbishop of Canterbury Screenfold – the smallest, oldest, most mysterious of the 3 we own Obscure geographic origin Divinatory and ritual aspects of the native calendar Pre-Hispanic – no clear consensus on date?

6 FACSIMILE of Codex Laud

7 Codex Laud: The Rain God as Lord of Time

8 Codex Laud – The Red Sun God

9 Codex Bodley (MS Mex. D. 1) Acquired through Thomas Bodley who knew its Mexican origin Just Pre-Hispanic Mixtec screenfold – glued deerskin 23 pages, of which 20 painted both sides genealogies of the ruling dynasties of two Mixtec communities, Ñuu Tnoo (Tilantongo) and Ndisi Nuu (Tlaxiaco). Maarten Jansen & Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez, ed., _Codex Bodley: a painted chronicle from the Mixtec Highlands, Mexico_ (Treasures from the Bodleian Library, 1), Oxford 2005

10 Codex Bodley (MS Mex. d. 1)

11 Codex Selden Acquired 1659 as part of John Selden’s Library
Second of our two Mixtec screenfolds Genealogy and life stories of the ruling dynasty of the town of Añute Genealogies go to 1556 … Survival of native culture? But it is also a palimpsest

12 Codex Selden

13 The Selden Roll (MS. Arch. Selden. A. 72(3))
Acquired from the Library of John Selden, 1659 Roll of native amatl paper (pulped bark) Mounted C19 on linen 38 x 350 cm Early colonial period, C16 Southern Mexican highlands Migratory journeys of divine ancestors, up to early settlement

14 The Selden Roll (MS. Arch. Selden. A. 72(3))

15 Codex Mendoza (MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1)
First hand account of Mexica culture Made in Mexico at the command of Mendoza, viceroy of Mexico, c.1541 Sent to Emperor Charles v Captured by French Privateers Possessed by Andre Thevet, French cosmographer to the King 1553 Other owners include Samuel Purchas: ‘the choisest of my Jewels’ Acquired 1659, as part of John Selden’s library

16 Codex Mendoza: folio 2r 71 folios Spanish paper Aztec painter Native speakers interpreted the pictures for the Spanish scribe Three parts – history of Aztec conquests, the tribute paid by the empire’s 38 provinces, typical lives from birth to death The founding of Tenochtitlan!

17 Codex Mendoza, f. 40 Different provinces yield: Warrior costumes Bees’ honey Copper axes Turquoise stones and masks Tiles of gold

18 Codex Mendoza: Folio 51r – a wedding ceremony

19 Existing Bodleian resources/surrogates
Codex Bodley reproduction and study, pub 2005 by Bodley Publications Codex Mendoza – 4 vol 1992 Facsimile pub. Berkeley in collaboration with Bodleian Images of varying quality from all 5 manuscripts available on Bodleian Digital Image Library Existing high quality digital scans of Bodley, Selden Existing 5x4 transparencies of Mendoza, Seden roll Little coverage of Laud

20 Digital Projects Opportunities to exploit and enhance existing information/images – 25, 000 slides of medieval & renaissance illumination on Luna Jane Austen – a new online edition with images John Johnson – mass digitization but with rich catalogue records Shakespeare’s Quartos – powerful encoding Digital Image Library

21 Future ideas Further integration of digital resources
Enhancing quality of images AND metadata Integration with catalogues Exploiting existing scholarship External collaboration with international and national partners where possible

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