- Museum number
- Object: The Tonindeye Codex
Codex (screenfold manuscript book) comprising 47 leaves, made of deer skin, painted. 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.
- Production date
Height: 19 centimetres (page)
Length: 113.50 centimetres
Width: 23.50 centimetres (page)
- Curator's comments
The Mixtec civilization is famous for its ancient pictographic books (codices), which tells the story of the dynasties that ruled the various city-states in Ñuu Dzavui, the Mixtec region, in southern Mexico between the 10th and 16th centuries C.E. The Tonindeye (or Zouche-Nuttall) codex, which comes from the kingdom of Teozacualco (Chiyo Cahnu) is an example of those Mixtec pictorial manuscripts and contains a wealth of historical information, including the biography of the great ruler Iya Nacuaa 'Teyusi Ñaña' (Lord 8 Deer 'Jaguar Claw'), who was born on June 21, 1064 C.E.
The Santo Domingo Centre for Excellence in Latin American Research (SDCELAR) project: 'Ancient Writing, Contemporary Voices: Decolonising the Mesoamerican Quincentenary' (2021) gathered a group of Indigenous archaeologists to study Mesoamerican writing collections. Key collaborators: Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez, Maarten E.R.G.N. Jansen, Omar Aguilar Sánchez.
Jansen, Maarten E.R.G.N. y Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez. The Mixtec Pictorial Manuscripts. Time, Agency and Memory in Ancient Mexico. Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2011 .
Aguilar Sánchez, Omar. Ñuu Savi: Pasado, Presente y Futuro. Descolonización, Continuidad Cultural y Re-apropiación de los Códices Mixtecos en el Pueblo de la Lluvia. Leiden: Leiden University Press, 2020.
Anders, Ferdinand, Maarten E.R.G.N. Jansen y Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez. Crónica Mixteca: El rey 8 Venado, Garra de Jaguar, y la dinastía de Teozacualco-Zaachila. Libro explicativo del llamado Códice Zouche-Nuttall. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1992 (b).
Z. Nuttall, Codex Nuttall: facsimile of an ancient Mexican codex belonging to Lord Zouche of Harynworth, England (Cambridge, Mass., Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 1902)
E.H. Boone, Stories in red and black: pictorial histories of the Aztec and Mixtecs (Austin, University of Texas Press, 2000)
G. Brotherstone, Painted books of Mexico (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)
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)
McEwan 1994, p.62
(Referring to scene in AN00033073002) This is a scene from one of the rare surviving examples of a Mixtec codex. Vivid, highly stylised two-dimensional images painted upon deerskin record the dynastic histories and oral traditions of ancient towns such as Tilantongo. A central figure is the ruler 8 Deer, seen hee top right gambling for the town of Tutupec, identified by its place glyph at the bottom left. In the foreground is an I-shaped ball-court. The ball game was used as a means of negotiating and resolving political and territorial disputes.
McEwan 2009, p.34
Scene of a woman giving birth, Teozacoalco Annals (Zouche-Nuttall Screenfold). Painted Deerskin, Mixtec, Mexico, 15th-16th century AD
The Teozacoalco Annals are one of a group of vividly informative screenfolds from towns in the Mixteca region of western Oaxaca. They record the genealogies of rival families over many generations and illustrate the deeds of specific identified by name glyphs, including Eight Deer Jaguar Claw who ruled in the 11th century. Place-signs and day-signs provide the location and date for many of the main episodes in the narrative such as births, succession to office, marriages, war, conquests and deaths.
The scene illustrated in detail here shows Lady Five Flint, whose serpent insignia floats behind her, giving birth to an heir, still attached by the umbilical cord. This event takes place on the day Three Flint of the year Three Flint, indicated by the glyphs beneath and at top left of the blue roundel. She thendisappears head first into an opening - presumably a cave - in the side of a mountain, identified by diagonal bands, with four priests in attendance.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012 28 March - 1 July, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Children of the Plumed Serpent
2012 29 July - 25 Nov, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Children of the Plumed Serpent
2017-2018 16 Sept-28 Jan, Los Angeles, J.Paul Getty Museum, Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas
2018 26 Feb- 28 May, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Golden Kingdoms: Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas
- Associated titles
Associated Title: The Zouche-Nuttall Codex (Change suggested by Jansen and Pérez Jiménez (2004). Jansen, Maarten E.R.G.N. and Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez, “Renaming the Mexican Códices.” Ancient Mesoamerica 15 (2004): 267–271)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- In 1859, the codex 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.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: BM Add. MSS 39671