Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Now thats a Map

Part picture book, part map the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2 is an Aztec artifact from 1540. It was for painted  the Lords of Cuauhtinchan to show the Spanish their claim to the territory they ruled. The first part starts with the emergence from the the lords ancestors from the cave of Chicomoztoc (legendary origin point of the Aztecs and several other tribes) and follows their journey to found the town of Cuauhtinchan. The second part shows the environment around Cuauhtinchan. The map is analyzed extensively in the book Cave, City, and Eagle’s Nest: An Interpretive Journey through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2 edited by Davíd Carrasco, and Scott Sessions, UNM press 2007. You can also listen  David Carrasco's lecture at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe New Mexico here. Among other things he explains rediscovering the map in a kitchen drawer of a wealth patron. Now I return to my monastic cell to further contemplate Mesoamerican Agriculture (unfortunately Cultivated Landscapes of Middle America on the eve of Conquest has far less interesting maps and a vocabulary that requires a Dictionary close at hand) and the vagaries of web pictures and copyright. There is a good argument to be made that a photo of a map drawn in 1540 isn't really copyrightable. However since I appreciate the work the book editor is doing, and part of the book sales support his work, I elected not to post my scan of the whole map, and merely link to the picture he uses to promote his lecture tour instead.
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