Universiteit Leiden

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The Mesoamerican codex re-entangled: Production, use, and re-use of precolonial documents

This dissertation is concerned with the study of the less than twenty remaining precolonial Mesoamerican codices. By considering these rare and fragile pictographic and hieroglyphic books from the cultural biography perspective, many different aspects of these books can be studied.

Ludo Snijders
25 October 2016

The biography of these books begins with their production and continues during their life as sacred objects within Mesoamerican cultures. From the perspective of the late medieval European conquerors, these books had a very different meaning, which caused the destruction or physical alteration of these sacred objects.

The few codices still in existence were almost forgotten in the European institutes that kept them in their collections. Only after these documents had been multiplied through the production of facsimiles, could they be reinterpreted by researchers and regain some of their meaning. The biographies of these books co ntinue t o grow as they get increasingly entangled with modern technology. A clear example of this is seen in the study of the palimpsest of the codex AƱute or codex Selden, which is included in this work.

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