Painted Words presents a facsimile, decipherment, and analysis of a seventeenth-century pictographic catechism from colonial Mexico, preserved as Fonds Mexicain 399 at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Works in this genre present the Catholic catechism in pictures that were read sign by sign as aids to memorization and oral performance. They have long been understood as a product of the experimental techniques of early evangelization, but this study shows that they are better understood as indigenous expressions of devotional knowledge.
In addition to inventive pictography to recount the catechism, this manuscript features Nahuatl texts that focus on don Pedro Moteuczoma, son of the Mexica ruler Moteuczoma the Younger, and his home, San Sebastián Atzaqualco. Other glosses identify figures drawn within the manuscript as Nahua and Spanish historical personages, as if the catechism had been repurposed as a dynastic record. The end of the document displays a series of Nahua and Spanish heraldic devices.
These combined pictorial and alphabetic expressions form a spectacular example of how colonial pictographers created innovative text genres, through which they reimagined pre-Columbian writing and early evangelizationand ultimately articulated newly emerging assertions of indigenous identity and memorialized native history.
|Series:||Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology Studies Series , #39|
|Product dimensions:||7.70(w) x 10.40(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Elizabeth Hill Boone is Martha and Donald Robertson Chair in Latin American Art at Tulane University.
Louise M. Burkhart is Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York, Albany.
David Tavárez is Professor of Anthropology at Vassar College.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vii
1 The Atzaqualco Catechism and Colonial Mexican Catechismal Pictography Louise M. Burkhart Elizabeth Hill Boone David Tavárez 1
2 A Merger of Preconquest and New Spanish Systems Elizabeth Hill Boone 35
3 The Pictographic Vocabulary: Ideography, Phonography, and Syntax Elizabeth Hill Boone Louise M. Burkhart 53
4 Christian Doctrine: Nahuas Encounter the Catechism Louise M. Burkhart 67
5 Rule, Service, and Privilege in the Pictorial Additions Elizabeth Hill Boone 93
6 Mutable Memories: The Moteuczomas and Nahua Nobility in the Atzaqualco Catechism David Tavárez 113
7 Deciphering the Catechism Louise M. Burkhart 161
Annotations on the Catechism Louise M. Burkhart Elizabeth Hill Boone 217
Afterword: Painting Piety and Politics Louise M. Burkhart 325
Appendix A Supplementary Prayers Louise M. Burkhart Elizabeth Hill Boone 329
Appendix B Identification of Name Glosses for Historical Figures David Tavárez 335