Portraying the Aztec Past examines three interrelated Mesoamerican manuscripts created by sixteenth-century Nahua tlacuiloque (artist-scribes): the codices Boturini, Azcatitlan, and Aubin. The author, Angela Herren Rajagopalan, provides close analysis of each manuscript while also examining their intersections with and departures from one another. Through this comparative approach we learn the ways their creators utilized Indigenous and European modes of representation, writing, and making to communicate identity and sociopolitical alliances.

Chapter 1, the introduction, discusses the state of scholarship on each manuscript and the author’s unique contributions, which include close analysis of their materiality, production, and, most importantly, the relationship between the three manuscripts.

Chapter 2 focuses on what the author calls the “pictographic paradigm” of Codex Boturini, alternatively titled the Tira de la peregrinación de los Mexica. The codex, which remains unfinished, displays traditional Indigenous features in the use of amatl...

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