Collection ID: 0026 | Metadata type: TEI | TEI XML | Data

1996.009.00.0002 Manuscrito Techialoyan de Santa María Iztacapan


Manuscrito Techialoyan de Santa María Iztacapan

Other related names

Call number

(Miami Lakes, FL, Jay I. Kislak Foundation)


Jay I. Kislak Foundation


Nahuatl languages


Early 18th century
El Cardonal, Hidalgo, Mexico


Illustrated Techialoyan manuscript relating to lands around Santa Maria Iztacapan (today El Cardonal in the state of Hidalgo in Mexico) in the Nahuatl language on Amatl (Fig-tree bark) paper. Techialoyan codices are the generic name for a group of documents produced by the same team of scribes/artists in and around the Toluca Valley in central Mexico. Around fifty examples of Techialoyan manuscripts are known to exist today. Each manuscript consists of two parts, a text written in the Nahuatl language and a pictorial section, with most drawings accompanied by brief Nahuatl descriptions. The group as a whole displays several common characteristics indicating that their authors followed a standard format for the organization of information and that they are most probably the product of a single workshop, completed by a small team of talented artists and scribes. Town jurisdictions, the community's acceptance of the Roman Catholic faith, the name of the local patron saint and the year in which the land grant was conferred on the village are delineated in the textual section of each manuscript. The manuscripts describe meetings of the notables of the town to confirm the territorial limits of the town, the places included, its districts, and its tributary towns. The object of this ceremony, a fusion of the ancient Mesoamerican and European cultural practices, was to legitimate possession of the land. The text and pictures complement each other and include the names of the notables present. The iconography is rich in representations of plants, architecture, and people, both indigenous and European. The residents of these towns would present these documents to a court to be translated, from Náhuatl to Spanish, and authenticated. At the end of the 17th century, the indigenous populations of Mexico had grown, and as a result were trying to recover lands that had been absorbed by haciendas, ranches, and other towns, and the viceregal government was searching for mechanisms to regularize land tenure. Indigenous documents were used as probate records to prove the antiquity of towns and their possession of lands. Towns sought to provide evidence that they were cabeceras (judicial seats), not subject populations, and old settlements with long-established borders. Among the motifs that appear with great frequency in these manuscripts are indigenous people, churches, hills, and plants. Texts also repeat in many of the documents, although in each case making reference to a particular town. The settlements that ordered a Techialoyan manuscript made sure that it contained essential information on the founding and history of the town. The dating of the Techialoyan manuscripts has proven problematic. In the text of each, dates are given ranging from 1505 to 1596, many attributing their land grants to the arrival in New Spain of Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza during late 1535. It is currently accepted that most date from ca. 1700 to 1743 and that they were created as a means for local people to defend their ancestral lands. Local communities were quick to recognize the value Spanish courts placed upon older documentation and thus, created antiqued the Techialoyan manuscripts as antique "forgeries" to support litigation cases and justification of ownership. Stephanie Wood, an expert on Techialoyan manuscripts, provides the following description of Santa Maria Iztacapan codex "Four folios contain full, running text in Nahuatl. The remaining folios contain graphic images with brief explanatory texts. Graphics tend to represent landscapes in and around the community. They also show human figures on the landscape. Two figures identified as Chichimec warriors and a founding couple are dressed in skins and carry bows and arrows, but most people wear the white cotton clothing donned by indigenous people in the Spanish colonial period. Two of the dignitaries are doña Ana and doña María Cortés (indigenous women who took the name of the conqueror, Hernando Cortés after baptism)."



257 x 222 mm


17 leaves




Watercolor illustrations of plants, human figures, buildings, and scenes of nature

Related resources

Subjects topical






5161_0000.tif (121.2 MB)
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5161_0007.tif (121.2 MB)
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5161_0010.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of three plants on two hills

5161_0011.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of man holding arrows and kneeling woman

5161_0012.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of figure next to two storey building

5161_0013.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of two men holding bows and arrows

5161_0014.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of deer in a natural scene

5161_0015.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of two figures in robes

5161_0016.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of three figures in robes

5161_0017.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of several plants

5161_0018.tif (121.2 MB)
5161_0018_thumb.jpg (5.7 KB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of two figures on either side of a river, both have baskets. One appears to be fishing

5161_0019.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of several buildings

5161_0020.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of two figures

5161_0021.tif (121.2 MB)
5161_0021_thumb.jpg (5.9 KB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of a natural scene with several plants and hills

5161_0022.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of two plants on a hill with a sketchily drawn human face

5161_0023.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor depicting a human heart, a lion, and a small hill

5161_0024.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of rows of identical plants

5161_0025.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of plants

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5161_0027.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of several male and female figures, some with bows and arrows

5161_0028.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of three plants and an eagle on a hill

5161_0029.tif (121.2 MB)
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5161_0029_web.jpg (573.6 KB)
Decoration: Watercolor of five trees on two hills

5161_0030.tif (121.2 MB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of several trees flanking a river

5161_0031.tif (121.2 MB)
5161_0031_thumb.jpg (5.7 KB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of man with basket next to a river

5161_0032.tif (121.2 MB)
5161_0032_thumb.jpg (5.0 KB)
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Decoration: Watercolor of a man's face next to a natural scene with plants and a water feature

5161_0033.tif (121.2 MB)
5161_0033_thumb.jpg (5.4 KB)
5161_0033_web.jpg (566.7 KB)
Decoration: Watercolor of a natural scene with two plants

Exposed spine
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