FIGURE 17. The river of Apoala, from page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 18. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 19. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 20. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 21. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 22. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 23. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 24. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 25. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
FIGURE 26. Page 25 of the Codex Vienna.
Finally, Ñudzavui verse can use sections of prose, or irregular passages that do not have strong poetic features. In the Cuilapan origin narrative, the coupleted naming of Lord and Lady 1 Deer was introduced with the irregular
|At this time, the Indians say, there became visible|
The following excerpt from the Prayer to Copal is a mix of prose and of the list:
|And now we speak to||Ta cana cao’ma|
|San Juan, San Pedro, San Pablo||San Juan, San Pedro, San Pablo25|
A visual equivalent of prose may be found in the use of a single place glyph to introduce where a scene is taking place.26 The scene in Figure 17 (which begins at the river at the bottom of the page) may have been introduced by the Ñudzavui poet with the phrase
|At Apoala, beside the shell-filled river|
To conclude by integrating the poetic transcriptions covered so far, the following extended poetic narrative can be produced from page 25 of the Codex Vienna (Figure 18):
|At Apoala, beside the shell filled river (Figure 19)|
|In the Year 5 Wind|
|On the Day 9 Rabbit (Figure 20)|
|Before the Bound Volute|
|The ñuhu on the left gestured|
|The ñuhu on the right gestured (Figure 21)|
|He who cares for the nectar (the hummingbird man)|
|He who cares for the plants|
|Were commanded by 2 Dog to prepare the pulque (Figure 22)|
|The pulque goddess made it powerful|
|The goddess of the headless maguey|
|The goddess of the decapitated maguey (Figure 23)|
|See the cup of foaming pulque|
|See the cup of foaming pulque|
|Beside the sacrificial mat (Figure 24)|
|Lady 2 Flower sits and gestures|
|Lady 3 Alligator holds a cup of foaming pulque (Figure 25)|
|Drinking the sap of the maguey are|
|You, Lord 2 Dog|
|You, Lord 9 Wind|
|You, Lord 7 Motion|
|You, Lord 1 Alligator|
|You, Lord 7 Wind|
|You, Lord 7 Rain|
|You, Lord 9 Motion|
|You, Lord 7 Deer|
|You, Lord 7 Flower|
|You, Lady 9 Grass|
|You, Lord 1 Death|
|You, Lady 1 Eagle (Figure 26)|
For more detailed investigations of the relations between verbal art and painted image among the Ñudzavui, see John Monaghan’s 1990 “Poetics and the Structure of the Mixtec Codices.” Although the Cuilapan origin narrative survives as the only alphabetic text composed from a Ñudzavui pictorial source, we are fortunate in that at least two alphabetic documents based on Central Mexican pictorial sources have survived. They are the Leyenda de los Soles and the Historia de los Mexicanos por sus Pinturas.27 Further discussion of Central Mexican literary aethetics can be found in the Poetics: Flowers and Song Nahua tutorial. Finally, Dennis Tedlock’s 1987 “Hearing a Voice in an Ancient Text” discusses the process of recovering the verbal art of the Quiché Maya from a sixteenth century alphabetic document.
Text by Byron Hamann
25 Monaghan 1990, 137.
26 The use of single phrases to introduce the place at which the story takes place is used in contemporary Quiché Maya storytelling; see Tedlock 1987, 154-155.
27 See León-Portilla 1992 and Markman and Markman 1992.