Description

FIGURE 1. Recreation of the Codex Selden displayed on a European-style table.

FIGURE 1. Recreation of the Codex Selden displayed on a European-style table.

The Codex Selden is approximately 5.5 meters in length and is folded into twenty “pages” approximately 27.5 by 27.5 cm in size (Figure 1). As it is currently preserved, only one side of the screenfold has been painted with narratives. A close examination, however, reveals that the book is in fact a palimpsest—the images we currently see were painted over earlier pictures, pictures that were scraped off and then hidden beneath a new layer of white plaster. Another interesting feature of the Selden is that, unlike all of the other surviving Ñudzavui screenfolds (and unlike the paintings of the first version of the Codex Selden), the current narrative of the Selden is painted vertically, not horizontally. The Selden is read from bottom to top. All of the other surviving Ñudzavui screenfolds read from left to right or right to left.

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