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One of the major textual resources on pre-Columbian Mexico is now online in a digital platform launched this month. The 1542 Codex Mendoza, dating to just 20 years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, is a thorough report on Aztec society, from daily life to culture and rituals.
However, since it arrived at the University of Oxford in the 17th century, and currently in the collection of the Bodleian Library, it’s only been accessible to Mexico researchers in copy form, the major reproductions being in English. The online version of the Codex Mendoza, also available as a free iOS app, was created by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute for Anthropology and History) in collaboration with the Bodleian Library and Oxford’s King’s College London. It provides interactive translations to modern Spanish and English that smoothly hover over the sharply digitized pages, maps, and timelines complementing the text on territories and expansion, and expandable research activated by clicking on individual images and information.
The Codex Mendoza is a 16th-century report intended for Charles V (the future Spanish King Charles I), named for the then-Spanish viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, elaborating on the resources and living conditions of New Spain, with 72 richly illustrated pages in Nahuatl (the Aztec language) and 63 in old Spanish. It never got to him. French privateers attacked the transporting Spanish ship, taking the manuscript away to Henri II in France. Eventually it got to England, where it was overlooked until 1831 when a rediscovery revealed it as an incredibly rare resource on a vanished life.
The Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia’s Director of Academic Innovation Ernesto Miranda described the Codex project to the Associated Press as “virtual repatriation,” noting that they hope to collaborate with more European institutions to make it part of a digital series on Mexican codices. This idea of virtual repatriation is growing in museums and academia, such as with the digitizing of the Malagan masks of Papua New Guinea in 2012, the aboriginal artifacts of the South Australian Museum last year, or the ongoing work of the Digital Return online network. While even the best digital recreation isn’t the object itself, with its physical textures, its weight, its emotional presence, projects like the Codex Mendoza are still incredibly valuable in connecting a country of origin to its archives of inaccessible history.
One hundred years after Mary Hiester Reid’s death, Flower Diary recovers the elusive, overlooked artist’s life and work
An exhibition of cabinet cards at LACMA showcases marketing and personal panache.
Over 50 years of the artist’s video and media work on how images, sound, and cultural iconography inform representation is on view through December 30.
Most eye miniatures were exchanged between lovers, though they were also given to close friends and family members.
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, exhibitions on irises in art history, LGBTQ Pride, and more have been translated.
Over the course of three months, the resident artists in Going to the Meadow will collaborate and create with a curated set of continually changing materials.
“The impossibility of reforming Tony [Soprano] bears some resemblance to the crisis plaguing museums and toxic philanthropy today, where a culture of bullying and exploitation belies programming of socially- and politically-engaged art.”