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Codices Becker I/II
Vienna, Museum for Ethnology, Inv.-Nr. 60306 und 60307, pre-colonial/1st half of the 16th century


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Further Pictures


The Codices Becker I and II – were named according to the previous owner from Darmstadt, and it is here that it was placed in the Ethnology Museum in 1897 (formerly k.k. Naturhistorisches Hofmuseum). The codices are amongst a few of the remaining preserved manuscripts of their kind, making them one of the most valuable of old Mexican manuscripts.

The Codex Becker I concerns itself with subject material primarily from a pre-Spanish source. The three preserved pieces (altogether 16 pages) encompass the short time period of 21 years and involve the saga of two Mixtecan dynasties (including numerous relatives and siblings from this dynasty of princes). The exact chronological placement is explained by yearly hieroglyphics portrayed in a meandering arranged pattern of highly-detailed painted pictures.

The preserved Codex Becker II is a copy of a pre-colonial manuscript from the first half of the 16th century and contains 5 pages which provide a list of monarchies and genealogical data; a historical document in which a patriarchal social order is clearly visible (the women are shown following the men to their domiciles). Religious interests (i.e. the highly detailed description of ceremonies and temple rituals), as well as certain historical writings, play the main role and give an impression of the predominant place that religion held within the daily life of the Mixtecs.

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