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The Codex Magliabechiano, folios 72-73
  • Jacob S. Neely, University of Kentucky

About the above image: Notice how this codex is bound as a book, rather than in the traditional screen-fold format.

The Codex Magliabechiano (ca. 1566)

In the Early Colonial years, the Spanish, in conjunction with indigenous noblemen and noblewomen, collected data with an eye towards gaining a better understanding of Mesoamerican culture in order to facilitate more efficacious evangelization and tribute collection. Elizabeth Boone posits that the Codex Magliabechiano, Codex Tudela (not featured in this exhibit), and Codex Ixtlilxochitl are all at least partially composed of copies of this early project.

The Magliabechiano serves as a “cultural encyclopedia” of indigenous central Mexico. Though it contains much of the same ritual, calendrical, and scientific data as its pre-Hispanic predecessors, it stands out as being ethnographic in nature. This tone shift reflects the change in intended readership in the mid sixteenth century: the colonial authorities and the indigenous nobility.

The duality of the Magliabechiano’s nature stands out in its materiality as much as in its content. For example, it is one of the earliest bound in the European style (like a book). What’s more, you will note that the alphabetic writings no longer appear as post-composition glosses, but instead as part of the intended formatting at the time of composition.

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


Boone, Elizabeth H. The Codex Magliabechiano and the Lost Prototype of the Magliabechiano Group. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

--. "Magliabechiano, Codex." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 13 Sep. 2018.

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

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Citation Information
Jacob S. Neely. "The Codex Magliabechiano, folios 72-73" (2018)
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