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Book: The Codex Borgia

Book: The Codex Borgia

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Considered by many scholars the finest extant Mexican codes and one of the most important original sources for the study of pre-Columbian religion, the Codex Borgia is a work of profond beauty, filled with strange and evocative images related to calendrical, cosmological, ritual and divinatory matters. Generally similar in style to such Mixtec manuscripts as the Codex Nuttall, the Codes Borgia is thought to have had its origin (ca. 1400 ad) in the south central highlands of Mexico. It is most probably a religious document that once belonged to a temple or sacred shrine.

One use of the Codex may have been to divine the future, for it includes ritual 260-day calendars, material on aspects of the planet Venus and a sort of numerological prognostication of the lives of wedded couples. Another section concerns various regions of the world and the supernatural characters and attributes of those regions. Also described are the characteristics of a number of deities, while still other passages may relate to installation ceremonies of rulers in pre-Columbian kingdoms.

Until this publication, the Codex Borgia has been largely inaccessible to the general public. The priceless original is in the Vatican Library and previous photographic facsimiles are very rare and/or very expensive. Moreover, the original Codex has been damaged over the centuries, resulting in the obscuration and loss of many images. In order to recapture the beauty and grandeur of the original, Gisele Díaz and Alan Rodgers have painstakingly restored the Codex by hand - a seven-year project - employing the most scrupulous research and restoration techniques. The result is 76 large full-color plates of vibrant, striking depictions of gods, kings, warriors, mythical creatures and mysterious abstract designs - a vivid panorama that offers profound insights into pre-Columbian Mexican myth and ritual. Now students, anthropologists, lovers of fine art and rare books - anyone interested in the art and culture of ancient Mexico - can study the Codex Borgia in this inexpensive, accurate, well-made edition. An informative introduction by noted anthropologist Bruce E. Byland places the Codex in its historical context and helps elucidated its meaning and significance.

This trade paperback measures 9 by 12 inches with 112 pages, including 76 full-color plates.

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