Codex Borgia: A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Mexican Manuscript

Overview

Considered by many scholars the finest extant Mexican codex and one of the most important original sources for the study of pre-Columbian religion, the Codex Borgia is a work of profound beauty, filled with strange and evocative images related to calendrical, cosmological, ritual, and divinatory matters. Generally similar to such Mixtec manuscripts as the Codex Nuttall, the Codex Borgia is thought to have its origin (ca. A.D. 1400) in the southern central highlands of Mexico, perhaps in Puebla or Oaxaca. It is ...

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The Codex Borgia: A Full-Color Restoration of the Ancient Mexican Manuscript

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Overview

Considered by many scholars the finest extant Mexican codex and one of the most important original sources for the study of pre-Columbian religion, the Codex Borgia is a work of profound beauty, filled with strange and evocative images related to calendrical, cosmological, ritual, and divinatory matters. Generally similar to such Mixtec manuscripts as the Codex Nuttall, the Codex Borgia is thought to have its origin (ca. A.D. 1400) in the southern central highlands of Mexico, perhaps in Puebla or Oaxaca. It is most probably a religious document that once belonged to a temple or sacred shrine.
One use of the Codex many have been to divine the future, for it includes ritual 260 day calendars, material on aspects of the planet Venus, and a sort of numerological prognostic of the lives of wedded couples. Another section concerns various regions of the world and the supernatural characters and attributes of those regions. Also described are the characteristics of a number of deities, while still other passages relate to installation ceremonies of rulers in pre-Columbian kingdoms.
Until the publication of this Dover edition, the Codex Borgia has been largely inaccessible to the general public. The priceless original is in the Vatican Library and previous photographic facsimiles are very rare or very expensive or both. Moreover, the original Codex has been damaged over the centuries, resulting in the obscuration and loss of many images. In order to recapture the beauty and grandeur of the original, Gisele Diaz and Alan Rodgers have painstakingly restored the Codex by hand— a seven-year project — employing the most scrupulous research and restoration techniques. The result is 76 large full-color plates of vibrant, striking depictions of gods, kings, warriors, mythical creatures, and mysterious abstract designs — a vivid panorama that offers profound insights into pre-Columbian Mexican myth and ritual. Now students, anthropologists, lovers of fine art and rare books — anyone interested in the art and culture of ancient Mexico — can study the Codex Borgia in this inexpensive, accurate, well-made edition. An informative introduction by noted anthropologist Bruce E. Byland places the Codex in its historical context and helps elucidate its meaning and significance.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An original work by Dover. The codex is in the Vatican Library. Other reproductions are scarce. A very good (9x12") reproduction. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486275697
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 6/22/1993
  • Series: Dover Fine Art, History of Art Series
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 300,739
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2008

    Gorgeous

    This Codex is wonderful at any price. The colors and reproductions are simply gorgeous and the text is very good. Present are a bewildering number of religious pictograms, soem calendric and others representing the dreamlike [nightmare] journey of the strange character, 'One-Eye.' The characters are overwhelmingly bloodsoaked and violent. There is decapitation, dismemberment and heart sacrifice. This document gives the lie to those anthropologists who claim that the mesoamerican societies are 'misunderstood' and were not human sacrificial--that tales of human sacrifice and cannibalism were tales perpetuated by Conquistadores to justify their conquest and subjugation of gentle cultures. Well, not quite. Judging by this and other codices, as well as archeologic revelations, these societies were just as bloodstained as advertised. This is not to justify the Spanish Conquest...just a simple fact. At the same time, many of the characters of this codex require major interpretation. Virtually everything is split, injured or vomits blood. Depictions of people [children?] being tortured and blinded are especially disturbing. Nevertheless, this document is well worth owning.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2009

    Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I dont know how i ever got along without this book....it is a must read if you are into this subject...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

    Fu<_>ck cabin!

    Where you fu<_>ck people and do pranks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Cassandra

    Oh gods, I'm sorry. My aunt coecered me into do my nails with her. I got away as soon as possible, but I am now unfortunately typing this with blue, sparkly nails. -__- ]]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    Marlin

    He followed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    Sara

    [I'm replying from my cabin, I find it hard to go through all the recently viewed books and whatnot.]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Herb

    Herb followed. <p>

    [Hm...]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    You get one clue...

    Read the last sentence of my post at the main res. That is all I will say.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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