Codex Zouche-Nuttall

Mixtec, Late Postclassic period (AD 1200-1521)
From Mexico

This is one of a small number of known Mexican codices (screenfold manuscript books) dating to pre-Hispanic times. It is made of deer skin and comprises 47 leaves. The Codex contains two narratives: one side of the document relates the history of important centres in the Mixtec region, while the other, starting at the opposite end, records the genealogy, marriages and political and military feats of the Mixtec ruler, Eight Deer Jaguar-Claw. This ruler is depicted at top centre, next to his calendric name (8 circles and a deer's head).

Very few Mesoamerican pictorial documents have survived destruction and it is not clear how the Codex Zouche-Nuttall reached Europe. In 1859 it turned up in a Dominican monastery in Florence. Years later, Sir Robert Curzon, 14th Baron Zouche (1810-73), loaned it to The British Museum. His books and manuscripts were inherited by his sister, who donated the Codex to the Museum in 1917. The Codex was first published by Zelia Nuttall in 1902.

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More information


E.H. Boone, Stories in red and black: pict (Austin, University of Texas Press, 2000)

Z. Nuttall, Codex Nuttall: facsimile of an (Cambridge, Mass., Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 1902)

G. Brotherstone, Painted books of Mexico (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

C. McEwan, Ancient Mexico in the British (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)

F. Anders, M. Jansen and G. A. Pérez Jiménez, Códice Zouche-Nuttall, facsimile with commentary and line drawing (Madrid, Sociedad Estatal Quinto Centenario; Graz, Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt; Mexico City, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1992)


Length: 113.500 cm
Height: 19.000 cm (page)
Width: 23.500 cm (page)

Museum number

AOA Ethno Add. MS 39671


Bequeathed by Ms. Curzon / Lord Zouche


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