Skip to main content
The Codex Ixtlilxochitl, folios 112r
  • Jacob S. Neely, University of Kentucky

About the above image: The previous image is of the Mesoamerican deity Tlaloc. However, here he is rendered in a European fashion and accompanied by a full page of alphabetic script.

The Codex Ixtlilxochitl (ca. 1585)

The Codex Ixtlilxochitl is a composite piece comprised of three documents by at least three distinct authors. It pertains to the complex altepetl -or composite city-state- of Texcoco that, along with Tenochtitlan and Tlacopan, formed the Triple Alliance of dominant city-states we refer to today as the Aztec Empire.

It contains a ritual-calendrical portion painted in the traditional style, a detailed response to a Spanish geographical survey regarding Texcoco’s history, and an alphabetic explanation of the Aztec calendar. The first portion is possibly a copy of the same source from which the Magliabechiano emerged. Juan Bautista Pomar and Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl, both mestizo (mixed-race) descendants of Texcocan nobility, produced the second and third portions, respectively. The Codex takes the name of the latter because he likely bound the three documents together.

This document (as a whole) may have been composed for self-interested purposes. In the Early Colonial period, being legally indio (“Indian”) was a privileged status in the Colonies that would have made Alva Ixtlilxochitl a direct subject of the Crown rather than of local authorities, offering a significant modicum of privilege.

Which of the four categories of CONTINUITY apply to the Codex Ixtlilxochitl?


Boone, Elizabeth H. "Ixtlilxochitl, Codex." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 13 Sep. 2018.

Brokaw, Galen and Jongsoo Lee. “Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl and Colonial Indigenous Historiography from the Conquest to the Present.” Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl and His Legacy. Ed. Galen Brokaw and Jongsoo Lee. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2016, pp. 2-28.

Lockhart, James. The Nahuas after the Conquest: A Social and Cultural History of the Indians of Central Mexico, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1993, pp. 24-25.

Valero de García Lascuráin, Ana Rita. Entre Códices. México: Universidad Anáhuac México Norte, 2012, pp. 94-95.

Whittaker, Gordon. “The Identities of Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl.” Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl and His Legacy. Ed. Galen Brokaw and Jongsoo Lee. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2016, pp. 29-75.

Curation Date
Photo Source

All scans courtesy of University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center and carried out by Jacob S. Neely.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0
Citation Information
Jacob S. Neely. "The Codex Ixtlilxochitl, folios 112r" (2018)
Available at: