Sie sind auf Seite 1von 17

Society for American Archaeology

Costume Analysis and the Provenience of the Borgia Group Codices


Author(s): Patricia Anawalt
Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 46, No. 4 (Oct., 1981), pp. 837-852
Published by: Society for American Archaeology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/280110 .
Accessed: 25/02/2015 10:22
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of
content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms
of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Society for American Archaeology is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to
American Antiquity.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

pepoRts
COSTUME ANALYSIS AND THE PROVENIENCE
OF THE BORGIA GROUP CODICES
Patricia Anawalt
There are indications that future archaeological investigations of the Late Postclassic horizon of the central
and eastern Gulf Coast will reveal the existence of several regional artistic subtraditions of the prevailing
Mixteca-Puebla horizon style. This would discourage the current pan-"Mixtec" approach to the interpretation
of Postclassic Mesoamerican culture. A consequence of this presently confusing practice is the provenience
debate concerning the religious Borgia Group codices. An abstract method of costume analysis indicates that
these pictorial manuscripts did not originate in the Mixteca because they do not display Mixtec ritual clothing
patterns. Data from the costume analysis, together with internal clues from the codices and archaeological
and ethnohistorical evidence, demonstrate that the Borgia Group codices had diverse origins. The general
Puebla-Tlaxcala region is suggested as the probable homeland for codices Borgia, Cospi, and Vaticanus B. The
stylistic twins, Fej6rvary-Mayer and Laud, are assigned to the eastern Gulf Coast.

Recent collaboration between archaeological and ethnohistorical-costume analysis methodology has provided new insight into the artistic-cultural tradition of Late Postclassic central Mexican art. As a consequence, the pervasive myth of a monolithic pan-'"'Mixtec" artistic dominance
for that time period now needs reassessment.
Vaillant (1938) coined the term "Mixteca-Puebla" to designate the two geographic areas within
which the predominant horizon style of the Late Postclassic probably originated. Unfortunately,
employment of the linguistic term "Mixtec" for this artistic tradition leads to a false generalization about the nature of "Mixtec" artistic dominance during this period. The result has been the
facile misattribution of items and subjects to the "Mixtec School," a term which has been interpreted too literally.
This problem can be solved by combining information from four major data bases. First, archaeology provides material evidence of distinctive regional variants of the Mixteca-Puebla style.
Second, ethnohistorical sources-both sixteenth-century conquistadors' eyewitness accounts and
to multiple areas of artistic production
subsequent chronicles of the ethnographer-friars-testify
in Late Postclassic Mesoamerica. Third, modern ethnography records the survival of certain PreHispanic cultural traditions, which substantiate the findings of archaeology and ethnohistory.
Finally, a fourth source for further understanding of the Mixtec problem is costume analysis, an
innovative method for analyzing depictions of Pre-Hispanic clothing.
Costume analysis methodology concentrates on the basic cut of a garment. Adequate clothing

Patricia Anawalt, Museum of Cultural History, University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Copyright ? 1981 by the Society for American Archaeology
0002-7316/81/040837-16$2.10/1

837

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

838

Figure
(page 50).

AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

1.

MIXTEC.

Codex

Zouche-Nuttal

Figure 2.
(page 52).

[Vol. 46, No. 4,19811

BORGIA GROUP. Codex Vaticanus B

data are not available in extant Pre-Hispanic sculptures, ceramics, or wall paintings but do exist
in the indigenous pictorial books of Mesoamerica. By focusing on the attribute level, it is possible
to hold in abeyance the social and religious implications of garments and successfully render data
from diverse geographic, contextual, and chronological sources into comparable units for crosscultural analysis. Multiple garment examples are necessary for such analysis, in order to adjust
for possible idiosyncrasies of individual artists or aberrant costume depictions.
While the general geographic origin of most Pre-Hispanic codices is established the proveniences of five of these pictorials, known collectively as the Borgia Group codices, are unknown.
This uncertainty has implicated the Borgia Group with the pan-Mixtec attribution problem.
Analysis of the clothing depicted in these native documents has shed light on both the Borgia
Group provenience debate and the Mixtec muddle. This study, then, provides an analysis of
material culture distribution in order to demonstrate the existence of several distinct-although
related-artistic cultural traditions, the separate nature of which has received insufficient attention from scholars to date. The study should therefore be of interest to students of archaeology as
well as of ethnohistory and art history.

Figure 3. MIXTEC.
obverse (page 1).

Codex

Vindobonensis

Figure 4. BORGIA GROUP. Codex Fej6rv6ryMayer (page 32).

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

REPORTS

Figure 5.

MIXTEC. Codex Becker I (page 16).

The distinctive

collection

of Pre-Hispanic

839

6.
Figure
(page 3D).
religious

BORGIA

documents

GROUP.

known

Codex

Laud

as the Borgia Group

codices is comprised of five core pictorial manuscripts: Borgia, Vaticanus B, Cospi, FejervaryMayer, and Laud. Treated as a single entity because of similarities in style and content (Glass and
Robertson 1975:99-100), they probably served as manuals for priests and diviners. Yet the Borgia
Group pictorials offer few standard clues to their origin.
Over the years four possible homelands have been suggested

for the Borgia Group codices:

(1)

the Puebla-Oaxaca border area (Seler 1963); (2) The Tlaxcala-Puebla region (Caso 1927;
Nicholson 1966:153-154); (3) the Gulf Coast (Seler 1904:324; Nicholson 1966:152-153); (4) the
Mixteca, heartland of the Mixtec Indians in Oaxaca (Toscano 1952; Robertson 1963; Furst 1978).
Of the four only the Mixteca contains a corpus of pictorial data comparable to that of the Borgia
Group codices, a fact stressed by supporters of a Mixtec origin. Those who hold this view claim
that the Borgia Group pictorials are the religious counterparts to the Mixtec historicalcodices.
genealogical
In analyzing the costumes

shown in the Borgia Group codices,

I compared

them with garments

from five Mixtec historical-genealogical codices: Becker I, Bodley, Colombino, Selden (compiled
in the mid-sixteenth century but nonetheless depicting only Pre-Hispanic clothing), Zouche-

Figure 7. MIXTEC.
obverse (page 26).

Codex

Vindobonensis

Figure 8. BORGIA GROUP. Codex Fejervdry3).


Mayer
(page
I
.

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Table 1.

Comparison of the Mixtec and Borgia Group Codices Costume Repertor

Garment

Mixtec Codices

Borgia Groups Codices

Maxtiati

CODEX VINDOBONENSIS obverse: 15% of the


maxtlatl are decorated

Examples of decorated m
CODEX BORGIA: 55%
CODEX VATICANUS
CODEX COSPI: 11%
CODEX FEJERVARY
CODEX LAUD: 18%

Hip-cloth

CODEX VINDOBONENSIS obverse: all hip-cloths


are decorated

CODEX BORGIA and CO


are decorated
CODEX VATICANUS B:
CODEX FEJERVARY-M
CODEX LAUD: 18% dec

Male Capes

CODEX VINDOBONENSIS obverse: 2 male capes

CODEX BORGIA: 2
CODEX VATICANUS B:
CODEX COSPI: 5
CODEX FEJERVARY-M
CODEX LAUD: 9 (2 are
Group)

Kilt

CODEX VINDOBONENSIS obverse: 8


CODEX VINDOBONENSIS reverse: 2
CODEX ZOUCHE-NUTTALL:1
CODEX COLOMBINO: 2

CODEX BORGIA: none


CODEX VATICANUS B:
CODEX COSPI: 1(?)
CODEX FEJERVARY-M
CODEX LAUD: 7

Female Chest Capes


(quemitl)

No female chest capes appear in the Mixtec Codies

CODEX BORGIA: 0
CODEX VATICANUS B:
CODEX COSPI: 0
CODEX FEJERVARY-M
CODEX LAUD: 6

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Female skirt worn topless

The Mixtec Codices contain only one topless female,


a child

The Borgia Group Codic


of topless females

Rounded and triangular


Quechquemitl

The Mixtec Codices have no really short, rounded


quechquemitl
The Mixtec Codices contain no quechquemitl +
maxtlatl = androgynous figures

The Borgia Group Codic


short, rounded quech
The Borgia Group Codic
quechquemitl + maxt

Xicolli

The red xicolli is the principal male garment of the


Mixtec Codices. The white-with-black design xicolli
is the priestly garment

The Borgia Group Codic


depictions (CODEX FE
LAUD). Both are pries
with- black designs

Armor

The Mixtec Codices contain only a few depictions of


cotton and animal skin armor
CODEX VINDOBONENSIS contains none

The Borgia Group Codic

Robe

Eleven robes occur in the Mixtec Codices.


CODEX VINDOBONENSIS obverse: 3
CODEX ZOUCHE-NUTTALLobverse: 8

The Borgia Group Codic


CODEX BORGIA: 0
CODEX VATICANUS
CODEX COSPI: 9
CODEX FEJERVARY
CODEX LAUD: 7

Huipil

The Mixtec Codices contain very few huipil

The Borgia Group conta

Limb-encasing, ceremonial
costumes

The Mixtec Codices contain at least 123 jaguar, puma,


and eagle costumes

The Borgia Group Codic


costumes, both jaguar
LAUD)

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

842

AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

[Vol. 46, No. 4,1981]

IV

Figure 9.
(page 12).

MIXTEC.

Codex

Zouche-Nuttall

Figure 10.
(page 15D).

BORGIA GROUP. Codex

Laud

Nuttal, and Codex Vindobonensis obverse. The latter pictorial is emphasized in the costume
analysis because it is the only complete Mixtec religious pictorial extant, and hence it is the Mixtec
document most analogous to the Borgia Group. It apparently tells the Mixtec creation myth and includes a range of deities, or their impersonators, all clad in appropriate attire. Deity clothing also
appears in the Borgia Group codices which depict rituals, divinatory calendars, patheons, and
general religious ideologies.
The costume analysis (Anawalt 1975, 1981) initially involved selecting 102 typical examples of
12 different garment types. They were then organized into a series of comparative charts
(Anawalt 1975:186, 205, 235, 248, 259, 266) according to five basic principles of garment construction.
COSTUME ANALYSIS
A summation of the costume analysis appears on Table 1, which compares the 12 types of
clothing which occur in the Mixtec and Borgia Group codices. The initial category is the loincloth
or maxtlatl. (This Nahuatl word regularly appears in the colonial sources throughout Mesoamerica, in keeping with the Spanish practice of applying Nahuatl terms in non-Nahuatl speaking
areas.) The loincloth was a single piece of long narrow material that was wrapped around the
waist several times, passed between the legs, and then tied at the back in such a manner that the
ends of the cloth hung down in front and back (Figures 1, 2). Three of the five Borgia Group
codices have more decorated loincloths (anything but unadorned pure white) than does Vindobonensis obverse.
The hip cloth is also found in both groups and is similar in both (Figures 3, 4). The indigenous
term for this costume is unknown. Analogous modern garments (Anawalt 1975:71-76) suggest
that it consisted of a square of material folded diagonally and then tied around the hips.
A third category of Table 1 is male capes, single webs of material that tied at the neck and were
worn either over the chest or back (Figures 5, 6). Seler (1901-1902:122) referred to the chest cape
as quemitl, an apronlike garment which was fastened around the neck of idols.
Male kilts, short skirtlike garments composed of closely spaced vertical panels, appear in both

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

REPORTS

Figure 11.
(page 30).

MIXTEC. Codex

Zouche-Nuttall

843

Figure 12. BORGIA GROUP. Codex Fej6rv6ryMayer (page 30).

groups, particularly on depictions of Tialoc representations and skeletal deities (Figures 7, 8). It is
probable that the kilt was utilized mainly as a special-purpose ritual costume. There is no
reference to it in the colonial sources, hence the mystery about its indigenous name.
The fifth and sixth categories, female capes and skirts, point up the first marked contrast between the two costume groups. The Mixtec codices display no females wearing quemitl, the chest
cape, but such depictions do occur in the Borgia Group pictorials (Figures 9, 10).
Females undressed above the waist-wearing
only a wraparound skirt-are a common occurrence in the Borgia Group (Figure 12) but almost nonexistent in the Mixtec pictorials. The sole example is a depiction of a child (Figure 11). This marked contrast indicates a significant variation
in cultural practices.

Figure 13. MIXTEC.


obverse (page 1).

Codex

Vindobonensis

Figure 14. BORGIA GROUP. Codex Fejerv6ryMayer (page 28).

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

844

AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

Figure 15.

MIXTEC. Codex Selden (page 5).

Figure 16.
(page 59).

[Vol. 46, No. 4, 1981 ]

BORGIA GROUP. Codex Borgia

The seventh category is that of rounded (Figures 13, 14) and triangular (Figures 15, 16) quechquemiti, a female slip-on garment that covered only the upper torso. In regard to the Mixtec
quechquemitl, Heyden (1977:8) suggested that the smaller "triangular" garment was a political
status marker, whereas the larger "rounded" type probably was used for warmth. The occurrence of both styles in the religious Borgia Group codices, however, calls into question Heyden's
hypothesis that the rounded style was strictly utilitarian. The Borgia Group has a number of very
short "rounded" quechquemitl (see Figure 14), whereas the Mixtec pictorials have none. The implication is that "rounded" quechquemitl also carried a particular meaning.
The second marked contrast between the two costume groups is the occurrence in the Borgia
Group codices of androgynous figures who wear female clothing together with the loincloth, the

Figure 17.
(page 20).

BORGIA GROUP.

Codex

Laud

Figure 18.
(page 89).

BORGIA GROUP. Codex Vaticanus B

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

845

REPORTS

Figure 19.

MIXTEC. Codex Bodley (page 14).

Figure 20.

MIXTEC. Codex Selden (page 14).

quintessential male garment (Figures 17, 18). Such bisexual figures do not occur in any of the Mixtec codices, an omission suggestive of different cultural milieux.
The third marked contrast between the Mixtec and Borgia Group costume depictions occurs in
the eighth category of Table 1, that of the xicolli, a short jacket with a diagnostic fringe or otherwise delineated hem area. This garment occurs repeatedly in the Mixtec codices: in red as the
nobles' standard apparel (Figure 19) and in the priests' diagnostic white-with-black-designs style
(Figure 20). The xicolli appears 30 times in the 52 pages of the Mixtec ritual pictorial Vindobonensis obverse. In contrast, in the entire Borgia Group only two xicolli are found (Figures 21,

Figure
(page 8).

21.

BORGIA

GROUP.

Codex

Laud

Figure 22. BORGIA GROUP. Codex Fejerv6ryMayer (page 27).

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Figure 23.
(page 40).

[Vol. 46, No. 4, 19811

AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

846

MIXTEC. Codex

Zouche-Nuttall

Figure 24.
(page 15D).

BORGIA GROUP.

Codex

Laud

22). Both are on priests. However, neither bears the white-with-black designs of the typical Mixtec priestly xicolli.
Armor comprises a ninth category. Whereas the Mixtec historical genealogical codices contain
few examples, neither Vindobonensis obverse nor the Borgia Group contain any.
Both repertories depict the "robe," a long, body-hugging garment that appears to have been a
special-purpose ritual costume (Figure 23, 24). The robe is more prevalent in the Borgia Group
than in the Mixtec, but never in the white-with-black-designs style that appears on the Mixtec
robe-clad priests (Figure 23).
Both the Mixtec and Borgia Group contain a few depictions of the female huipil, a simple blouse
(Figures 25, 26).

Figure 25. MIXTEC. Codex


obverse (page 20).

Vindobonensis

Figure 26.
(page 1).

BORGIA GROUP. Codex Cospi recto

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

REPORTS

Figure 27. MIXTEC.


obverse (page 4).

Codex

Vindobonensis

Figure 28.
(page 45).

847

MIXTEC. Codex

Zouche-Nuttall

The final category of Table 1 is that of limb-encasing ceremonial costumes, which represent the
fourth marked difference between the two costume traditions. The Mixtec codices display three
styles of these garments: jaguar, puma, and eagle. Since the costumes encase the entire body, I
assume that at least portions of the garments were woven, man-made facsimiles of the actual
skins. These ceremonial costumes occur repeatedly throughout the Mixtec codices (Figures 27,
28). Codex Vindobonensis obverse contains 19 such costumes (11 eagle suits, 1 puma, 7 jaguar). In
marked contrast, the entire Borgia Group contains only two such garments, both jaguar suits
(Figures 29, 30).
To sum up, as Table 1 indicates, while there are many similarities between the two costume
traditions there are four significant differences:
(1) Bare-chested females. In the entire Mixtec corpus there is only one depiction of a barechested female, a child. In contrast, such depictions appear repeatedly throughout the Borgia
Group codices.
(2) Androgynous figures. The Mixtec corpus contains no figures who wear the male loincloth
together with traditional female clothing. In contrast, such depictions appear a number of times in
the Borgia Group codices.
(3) Xicolli distribution. In the Mixtec codices both the aristocratic red xicolli and the priestly
black-and-white style appear repeatedly. In contrast, the five core members of the Borgia Group
contain only two xicolli, both worn by priests but in neither case is the garment the Mixtec ritual
black-with-white style.
(4) Limb-encasing ceremonial costume distribution. In the Mixtec corpus there are at least 123
jaguar, puma, and eagle costumes. In contrast, two jaguar suits are the only such costumes in the
entire Borgia Group, indicating contrasting ceremonial accoutrements.
It is clear that the differences between the two costume traditions here described are significant enough to suggest that they are reflections of different cultural milieux. The costume
evidence indicates that the Borgia Group codices cannot be of Mixtec origin because they do not
depict what we know to have been Mixtec ceremonial clothing patterns. Therefore, in order to
determine the homeland of these books, a combination of internal clues from the codices and
ethnohistorical as well as archaeological evidence must be added to the picture. The data from
these sources suggest that the five Borgia Group codices originated in diverse areas.

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

848

Figure 29.
(page 13D).

AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

BORGIA GROUP. Codex

Laud

Figure 30.
(page 60).

[Vol. 46, No. 4,1981]

BORGIA GROUP. Codex Borgia

THE PROPOSED PROVENIENCEOF THE BORGIA GROUP CODICES


The evidence associating Codex Borgia with the important Pre-Hispanic center of Cholula is impressive. There are stylistic similarities between Cholula polychrome pottery and the pictorials,
as well as repeated representations in the codex of the god particularly important to the Nahuatl
speakers, Tezcatlipoca. Archaeological evidence further corroborates this association. In 1927 a
buried temple was excavated at Tizatlan in Tlaxcala city. Within were two plaster-covered altars
with polychrome paintings. A close stylistic resemblance was noted between the paintings and
Codex Borgia, particularly in a representation of Tezcatlipoca (Caso 1927). This resemblance suggests that Borgia comes from a region where this capricious, omniscient god was a paramount deity. The Puebla-Tlaxcala area was just such an area, one of three of the largest centers for the Tezcatlipoca cult (Nicholson 1963:35). Torquemada (1943-1944: 11:254) states that pilgrims came
from as far as beyond Guatemala to the god's shrine near Atlixco, which emphasizes Tezcatlipoca's importance in the Puebla-Tlaxcala region.
Archaeologists Chadwick and MacNeish (1967) propose a nearby homeland for Borgia. They
stress the similarities of the "eared" thatch roofs of the Tehuacan Valley house types and those
depicted in Borgia (a similarity first noted by Nicholson [1966:150]) plus the marked resemblance
between the Venta Salada phase ceramic vessels of Tehuacan and containers which appear in
the Codex. Chadwick and MacNeish suggest that the codex was executed in the Tehuacan
Valley. I, however, while inclined to accept their basic argument, agree with Nicholson
(1966:153-154) in favoring the area farther to the north in the general Cholula region. The
evidence for this attribution consists of (1) resemblance between the "tipo codice" designs of
Cholula polychrome and stylistic-iconographic devices seen in Codex Borgia, (2) the iconographic
similarities between the pictorial representations of the codex and the Tizatlan altarpiece, and (3)
the repeated occurrence of Tezcatlipoca in the codex.
Codex Cospi is stylistically similar to Borgia and evinces an even closer resemblance to the
Tizatlan altar paintings. It thus seems logical to attribute this to the Puebla-Tlaxcala region as
well. This may also be the best presently attainable attribution for Codex Vaticanus B. While it
resembles Borgia, it is much sketchier in both content and style and aesthetically much inferior.

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

REPORTS

849

It is only with the two remaining Borgia Group pictorials, the stylistic twins Fejervary-Mayer
and Laud, that primary emphasis shifts to the central-eastern Gulf Coast. For the Late Postclassic,
this area is archaeologically poorly known. While it is understandable that emphasis has hitherto
been on Preclassic Olmec sites and subsequent Classic period Maya connections, enough work
has now been done to demonstrate that the region was a center for an elaborate polychrome
ceramic tradition of the Postclassic-a
tradition which produced vessels that occasionally
display "tipo codice" representations. Such pieces resemble the distinctive polychrome ware of
the great central Mexican religious and manufacturing center of Cholula. This is supported by
both Drucker's (1943) work at Cerro de las Mesas-which revealed a late ceramic phase almost
identical to Cholula polychrome-and Medellin Zenil's (1952, 1955, 1960) archaeological surveys
of that region. The influence of the polychrome ceramic tradition of Cholula on the local assemblage of Cempoallan, Veracruz, was so great that Garcia Payon (1949:471) dubbed this center "un
vastago de Cholula" (cf. Noguera 1954:295). Cempoallan also sent pilgrims to Cholula for rituals.
Obviously, the stylistic-iconographic tradition of central Mexico influenced this section of the Gulf
Coast.
Prior to the Spanish conquest the central-eastern Veracruz area was thriving. The natives of
the region were famous for their skill in painting cotton mantles (Alvarado Tezozomoc
1944:308-309) and also had the reputation of being particularly knowledgeable in ritual and
divinatory lore. They were descendants of the Tlamatinime, the wise men of legendary Tamoanchan, who were supposed to have migrated to this eastern coastal region, taking with them the
sacred ritual books (Anderson and Dibble 1950-1969, Bk. 10:187-188, 190-192). Among other
names the area was known as Tlillan Tlapallan, place of writings.
This region of the Gulf Coast, reknowned for craftsmen skilled in painting and priests steeped in
esoteric religious lore, well may be the homeland of the beautifully drawn and intellectually
abstract Fejervary-Mayer and Laud codices. As we have seen, these codices contain recurring
Gulf Coast features: emphasis on the area's mother goddess Tlazolteotl-Ixcuinan; arm bands and
axes; resemblances in a universe diagram between Fejervary-Mayer and Lowland Maya Codex
Madrid; and the frequency of bare-chested females.
Bare-chested females were typical of the central-eastern Veracruz tropical zone. While admittedly there is no necessary correlation between seminudity and warm climate (recall the nudity
practiced in the harsh environment of Tierra del Fuego), the repeated occurrence of bare-chested
females in the Borgia Group codices may well be a provenience indicator. With only one exception-a child-bareness
occurs neither in the Mixtec codices nor in the Aztec pictorials (depictions of bare-chested Aztec females are almost always stone sculptures, mother goddesses, whose
exposed breasts emphasize their maternal aspect). In the central-eastern Gulf Coast, however,
bare-chested women were typical of the area well into the twentieth century (Covarrubias
1947:43-47).
A further argument in support of a Gulf Coast provenience for Fejervary-Mayer and Laud involves the propensity of the Spanish for collecting native books in that region. It is understandable
that the Europeans should be fascinated with these exotic pictorials at that particular time and
place. Central Veracruz was the first area where the conquistadors landed and remained reconnoitering for 5 months; Cempoallan was the first large Mesoamerican city they visited. We have
proof that the Spaniards acquired indigenous documents during this period. In the July 6,1519, inventory of gifts sent back by Cortes are listed two native books (Pagden 1971:40-46) for which
honor there are presently a number of pictorial contenders (Nicholson 1966:148-149), FejervaryMayer and Laud among them. However, the sixteenth-century chronicler Peter Martyr tells us
that a number of books arrived back in Spain. He also describes these pictorials as being made of
paper rather than animal skin, the material used for all the Borgia Group codices (MacNutt
1912:11:40-41). It is just possible that Martyr could have had such a strong impression of the exotic native paper that he failed to note the true composition of the two deerskin codices. It is more
probable, however, that Fejervary-Mayer and Laud originated to the east of Cempoallan and were
collected later.

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

850

AMERICAN
ANTIQUITY

[Vol. 46, No. 4,1981]

These stylistic twins among the Borgia Group contain internal clues-the combining of a
"streamlined Mixtec style" (Nicholson 1966:155) with Gulf Coast iconography-which point to
origins in an area touched by both traditions. Ethnohistorical evidence substantiates this. In eastern Veracruz, lying in the drainage of the Papaloapan-Coatzacoalcos rivers, is the Chinantla
region. In Pre-Hispanic times this area was a key geographic and cultural transition zone between
the Mixteca and Gulf Coast. It was also a profitable gold-producing region, and hence provided a
raison d'etre for the first Spaniard's visit to the area. In the winter of 1519-1520 Diego de Ordaz
was sent by Cort6s to evaluate the Chinantla region (Wagner 1969:242-244, 386). In addition to
his usual Spanish obsession with gold, Ordaz was also an enthusiastic souvenir collector. There is
a record of a "giant's bone" he took from a native temple (MacNutt 1912:11:189)and he is claimed
to have been fascinated by seeing paintings of "devils." Ordaz returned to Spain as a procurador
for Cortes in late 1521 or early 1522. This trip is also associated with a usually neglected second
small shipment of Cortesian gifts to the Crown (Wagner 1969:326).
It is quite possible, of course, that there was never any documentation of the Borgia Group
twin's exodus from Mexico, and hence the above speculations are spurious. The first records of
Fejervary-Meyer and Laud in Europe are late and of no help with the provenience problem. Nevertheless, the content, style, and iconography of these two unique pictorials definitely point toward
the eastern Gulf Coast origin. It is therefore not illogical to suggest that the inveterate souvenir
hunter Ordaz also may have carried back to Spain, along with his famous "giant's bone," these
two magnificently executed codices.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The five core members of the Borgia Group codices have come to be regarded as a single corpus
because, when compared with other Mesoamerican ritual manuscripts, they are more like each
other than any other pictorials. Because the Borgia codices lack standard provenience clues, their
homeland has been a matter of debate. Some scholars, drawing on stylistic similarities, have assigned these pictorials to the Mixtec. This attribution has been shown to be faulty through an innovative method of costume analysis. Data garnered from the costume analysis, internal clues
from the pictorials, and ethnohistorical and archaeological evidence demonstrate that the Borgia
Group codices actually have diverse origins separated in space but nevertheless reflecting a
Mixteca-Puebla art tradition. The Mixtec codices also reflect this pervasive Late Postclassic
horizon style, and it is at this level of shared influence that they resemble the five core pictorials
of the Borgia Group.
The general Puebla-Tlaxcala region is suggested as the probable homeland for codices Borgia,
Cospi, and Vaticanus B. The stylistic twins Fejervary-Mayer and Laud are consigned to the Gulf
Coast. The determination of diverse origins for the Borgia Group codices indicates that several
distinctive-although related-regional artistic subtraditions of the Mixteca-Puebla style were in
existence in the Late Postclassic.
The results of the ethnohistorical-costume analysis study point to central-eastern Veracruz as a
particularly auspicious region for future archaeological research into this question. My work indicates that the most promising areas are those suggested by Nicholson (1963:55-64): the regions
somewhat north of Cempoallan to at least the Tabasco border in the south, with special emphasis
on the Tuxtepec and lower Papaloapan, Playa Vicente, Los Tuxtlas, and Coatzacoalcos zones.
Certainly, the explicitly detailed pictorials Fejervary-Mayer and Laud contain representations of
a variety of ritual objects and structures of originally imperishable materials which are potentially available for archaeological discovery. Another find on the order of the Tizatlan altar might
prove a major turning point in our understanding of the artistic-cultural tradition of Late Postclassic Mesoamerica.
Acknowledgments. I wish to thank H. B. Nicholson for his help with this article. A number of other people
have also contributed to early drafts of the paper: Frances Berdan, Christopher Donnan, Doris Heyden, P. A.

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

REPORTS

851

Parsons, and anonymous reviewers. Jean Sells did the fine-line tracings of the figures from photographs taken
by Susan Einstein.

REFERENCES CITED
Alvarado Tezozomoc, Hernando
1944 Cronica mexicana escrita hacia el aflo de 1598. Notas del Manuel Orozco y Berra. Editorial Leyenda,
Mexico, D. F.
Anawalt, Patricia
1975 Pan-Mesoamerican costume repertory at the time of Spanish contact. Ph.D. dissertation, University
of California-Los Angeles. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor. No. 76-8973.
1981 Indian clothing before Cortes: Mesoamerican costumes from the codices. University of Oklahoma
Press, Norman, in press.
Anderson, Arthur J. O., and Charles E. Dibble
Florentine Codex: general history of the things of New Spain. Fray Bernardino Sahagin.
1950-1969
Edited by Arthur J. 0. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble. 11 vols. Monographs of the School of American
Research, Number 14, Parts 2-13. University of Utah and School of American Research, Santa Fe.
Caso, Alfonso
1927 Las ruinas de Tizatlan. Revista Mexicana de Estudios Historias I:139-172.
Chadwick, Robert, and R. S. MacNeish
1967 The Codex Borgia and the Venta Salada phase. In Prehistory of the Tehuacan Valley, environment
and subsistence (vol 1), edited by D. S. Byers, pp. 114-131. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Codex Becker I
1961 Codex Becker I/II. Museum fur V61kerkunde, Wein. Inv. Nr. 60306 and 60307. Akademische Druckund Verlagsanstalt, Graz.
Codex Bodley
1960 Codex Bodley. Facsimile edition of a Mexican painting preserved in the collection of Sir Thomas Bodley, Bodleian Library, Oxford, interpreted by A. Caso, translated by R. Morales, revised by J. Paddock.
Sociedad Mexicana de Antropologia, M6xico. D. F.
Codex Borgia
1963 Codex Borgia. In Comentarios al Codice Borgia. Eduard Seler. 2 vols. and facsimile reproduction of
the Codex. Fondo de Cultura Econ6mica, Mexico, D. F.
Codex Colombino
1966 Codex Colombino. Interpretation of the codex by A. Caso. Glosses by Mary Elizabeth Smith, with a
facsimile of the codex. Sociedad Mexicana de Antropologia, Mexico, D. F.
Codex Cospi
1968 Codex Cospi (Calendario Messicano 4093), Biblioteca Universitaria, Bologna. Einleitung und Summary: K. A. Nowotny. Akademische Druck-und Verlagsanstalt, Graz.
Codex Fej6rvary-Mayer
1971 Codex Fejerv6ry-Mayer (12014 M) City of Liverpool Museums. Introduction: C. A. Burland. Akademische Druck-und Verlagsanstalt, Graz.
Codex Laud
1966 Codex Laud (MS Laud Misc. 678, Bodleian Library). True-color facsimile of the old Mexican manuscript. Introduction by Cottie Burland. Akademische Druck-und Verlagsanstalt, Graz.
Codex Selden
1964 Codex Selden 3135 (A.2). Interpretation of the codex by A. Caso, translated by J. Quirarte, revised by
J. Paddock, with a facsimile of the codex. Sociedad Mexicana de Antropologia, M6xico, D. F.
Codex Vaticanus B
1972 Codex Vaticanus B. (Codex Vaticanus 3773), Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Einleitung summary und
resumen: Ferdinand Anders. Akademische Druck-und Verlagsanstalt, Graz.
Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus I
1974 Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus I. Vollstiindige Faksimile-Ausgabe im originalformat. History and
description of the manuscript: Otto Adelhoder. Akademische Druck-und Verlagstanstalt, Graz.
Codex Zouche-Nuttall
1902 Codex Zouche-Nuttall: facsimile of an ancient Mexican codex belonging to Lord Zouche of Haryn(g)
worth England. Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge.
Covarrubias, Miguel
1947 Mexico south: the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Cassell, London.
Drucker, Philip
1943 Ceramic stratigraphy at Cerro de las Mesas, Veracruz, Mexico. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin, 141.

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

852

AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

[Vol. 46, No. 4,1981]

Furst, Jill Leslie


1978 Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus I: A Commentary. Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, State University of New York at Albany, Publication No. 4. Albany.
Garcia, Pay6n, J.
1949 Zempoala: compendio de su estudio arqueolo6gico. Uni-ver 1:449-476.
Glass, John B., in collaboration with Donald Robertson
1975 A census of native Middle American pictorial manuscripts. In Handbook of Middle American Indians (vol 14), general editor Robert Wauchope, pp. 81-252. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Heyden, Doris
1977 The quechquemitl as a symbol of power in the Mixtec codices. Vicus cuadernos, Arqueologia, Antropologia Cultural, Etnologia I:5-24.
MacNutt, F. A.
1912 Anghiera, Pietro Martire d', 1455-1526. De orbe novo, the eight Decades of Peter Martyr d'Anghera,
translated from the Latin, with notes and introduction by Francis Angustus MacNutt. 2 vols. G. P.
Putnam's Sons: New York and London.
Medellin Zenil, A.
1952 Exploraciones en Quauhtochco. Gobierno del estado de Veracruz, Departamento de Antropologia,
Jalapa.
1955 Exploraci6n en la Isla de Sacrificios. Gobierno del estado de Veracruz, Jalapa.
1960 Cerdmicas del Totonacapan: exploraciones arqueol6gicas en el centro de Veracruz, Jalapa.
Nicholson, H. B.
1963 The problem of the provenience of the members of the "Codex Borgia Group." Ms. in possession of
author.
1966 The problem of the provenience of the members of the "Codex Borgia Group": a summary. In Suma
antropologica en homenaje a Roberto J. Weitlaner, pp. 145-158. Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e
Historia, Mexico, D. F.
Noguera, Eduardo
1954 La cer6mica arqueologica de Cholula. Editorial Guarania, Mexico, D. F.
Pagden, A. R.
1971 Hernan Cortes, translated and edited by A. R. Pagden. Grossman, New York.
Robertson, Donald
1963 The style of the Borgia Group of Mexican pre-conquest manuscripts. In Studies in western art (vol. 3),
edited by M. Meiss and others, pp. 148-164. 20th International Congress on the History of Art.
Seler, Eduard
1901-1902
Codex Fejerv6ry-Mayer. Published at the expense of His Excellency, the Duke of Loubat, Berlin and London.
1904 Wall paintings at Mitla. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 28:243-324.
1963 Codex Borgia. Comentarios al Codice Borgia. 2 vols. and facsimile reproduction of the codex. Fondo
de Cultura Economica, Mexico, D. F.
Torquemada, Juan de
1943-1944
Monarquia Indiana, edited by Salvador Chaves Hayhoe. 3 Vols. M6xico, D. F.
Toscano, Salvador
1952 Arte precolombino de Mexico y la America Central. M6xico, D. F.
Vaillant, George
1938 A correlation of archaeological and historical sequences in the Valley of Mexico. American Anthropologist 40:535-573.
Wagner, Henry R.
1969 The rise of Fernando Cortes. Originally published in 1944 by The Cortes Society. Kraus Reprint, New
York.

This content downloaded from 201.148.81.39 on Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:22:43 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions