When we consider questions of alphabetic, cultural, and visual literacy in colonial Mesoamerica, an analysis of the way in which the producers of the Book of Chilam Balam of Kaua appropriated European astronomical texts and images from medieval reportorios demonstrates much about how Mayan scribes and illustrators understood European astrology and the importance that the Maya placed on both visual representations and Spanish textuality. These excerpts served a didactic purpose of teaching European conceptions of astrology and astronomy to a Mayan audience via a deliberate textual and visual translation process.

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