Ñudzavui documents

These three Òudzavui documents illustrate how indigenous writing in Oaxaca was transformed over the course of the sixteenth century. The earliest text, the prehispanic Codex Nuttall, was created in the Mixteca Alta (dzini ñudzavui, High Rain Place). The 23 pages presented here record first a origins story of peregrination and foundation, and then the interconnected royal genealogies of Òuu Tnoo (Tilantongo), Chiyo Cahnu (Teozacoalco), and Tocuisi (Zaachila). The Codex Selden was also created in the Mixteca Alta, in the town of Añute (Jaltepec). Although painted around 1556, its pages make no reference to the arrival of the Europeans three decades before. Finally, the Vocabulario of Francisco de Alvarado was published in Mexico City in 1593. Alvarado was a Dominican friar who spent many years living in the town of Yucu Ndaa (Teposcolula) in the Mixteca Alta, and so this printed alphabetic book translates Castilian words into Mixtec (dzaha dzavui, Rain Speech), the language of the Òudzavui people.

Codex Nuttall

  • Ñudzavui
  • ca. 1500
  • 1,122 cm x 18.4 cm
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The Codex Nuttall is 11.22 meters in length, and is folded into 47 “pages” measuring approximately 24.3 by 18.4 cm. It was probably created around 1500. The codex is painted on both sides. These two different sides are very different in terms of both‘¦

Codex Selden

  • Ñudzavui
  • 1560
  • 550 cm x 27.5 cm
image description

The Codex Selden is approximately 5.5 meters in length, and is folded into twenty ‘pages’ approximately 27.5 by 27.5 cm. It was probably created around 1560. As it is currently preserved, only one side of the codex is painted with narratives‘¦

Alvarado Vocabulario

  • Ñudzavui / Dominican
  • 1593
  • 14.5 cm x 19.6 cm
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Fray Francisco de Alvarado’s Vocabulario en Lengua Misteca was published in 1593 at the Mexico City printing house of Pedro Balli. It consists of a title page, ten pages of introductions written by various church officials (the Dean and Council of the‘¦