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Distributed for Leiden University Press

The Mesoamerican Codex Re-entangled

Production, Use and Re-use of Pre-colonial Documents

This innovative work aims to piece together the cultural biography of Mesoamerica’s precolonial codices. Today, fewer than twenty manuscripts are all that remain of the Mesoamerican book-making tradition. These pictographic and hieroglyphic texts have often been researched according to their content, but such studies have ignored their nature as material objects. By tracing the paths these books have followed over the past five hundred years, Ludo Snijders offers fascinating insights into their production, use and reuse, destruction, rediscovery, and reinvention.

232 pages | illustrated in color throughout | 8 x 10 3/4 | © 2017

Archaeological Studies Leiden University


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Table of Contents

1 Materials for Writing
1.1 The Writing Surface
1.2 Identification of Colourants
    Other Colours
1.3 Covers
1.4 Adhesives
     Discussion and Conclusions

2 The Practice of Codex Making
2.1 Making the Support
2.2 Making Paint
2.3 The Process of Writing
2.4 Covers
2.5 Tools
     Discussion and Conclusion

3 The Lifecycle of the Mesoamerican Codices
3.1 Context of Using a Religious Codex
3.2 Using a Historical Codex
3.3 Secondary Uses and Non-use
3.4 Decay of Books
3.5 Disposal or Reinvigoration
     Discussion and Conclusions

4 Demons and Colonization, the Destruction of Written Culture
4.1 Christian Perception of Evil and the Other
4.2 The Internal Demon
4.3 The Effect of the European Middle Ages on the Mesoamerican Codices
     Discussion and Conclusions

5 Reproduction of the Codices
5.1 Antiquities of Mexico
5.2 The Age of Photography
5.3 Digital Reproduction
5.4 Re-producing Codices
     Discussion and Conclusions

6 Recovery of a Hidden Chapter in the Life of Codex Añute
6.1 Description of the Codex
6.2 The Investigation of the Añute Palimpsest in the 1950’s
6.3 The Techniques of the 2012-2016 Science-Arts Investigation
6.4 The Visible Areas
6.5 Hyperspectral Results Revealing Sub-surface Images
     Discussion and Conclusions

7 Conclusion and Reflections

Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
List of Figures
List of Tables
Curriculum Vitae of the Author

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