The Treatise on the Heathen Superstitions and Customs That Today Live among the Indians Native to This New Spain, 1629, by Hernando Ruiz de Alarcón, is one of the most significant, but at the same time puzzling, sources on Nahua colonial culture. Several decades after the greatest works of Nahua missionary ethnography (such as Bernardino de Sahagún's Florentine Codex) had been completed, Ruiz de Alarcón, who was a creole priest, documented native practices and beliefs that were still deeply rooted in the precontact Mesoamerican worldview. Although he worked in remote lands (today's Guerrero) and with rural local communities, the texts that he gathered provide a valuable insight into earlier sources that originated in the major cultural centers of New Spain, including precontact painted codices. The bulk of the Treatise is composed of incantations recited by healers, sorcerers, and sometimes also regular...

You do not currently have access to this content.