The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, April 23, 2018

Ancient Map Offers Key to Mesoamerican History

DENVER, CO.- A map painted by Mexican Indians in the mid-16th century has become a key document for understanding the migration of Mesoamerican peoples from their land of origin in what is now the U.S. Southwest, according to a scholar at Harvard University Divinity School.

"Five years of research and writing (2002-2007) by 15 scholars of Mesoamerican history show that this document, the Map of Cuauhtinchan 2, with more than 700 pictures in color, is something like a Mesoamerican Iliad and Odyssey," Dr. David Carrasco told Efe in a telephone interview.

"The map tells sacred stories and speaks of pilgrimages, wars, medicine, plants, marriages, rituals and heroes of the Cuauhtinchan community, which means Place of the Eagle's Nest (in the present-day Mexican state of Puebla)," he said.

The map, known as MC2, was painted on amate paper made from tree bark probably around 1540, just two decades after the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

Through images and pictographs, the map recounts the ancestral history of the Mesoamerican people of Chicomoztoc, meaning Place of the Seven Caves, followed by their migration to the sacred city of Cholula and the foundation of Cuauhtinchan, probably in 1174.

The document was apparently meant to resolve a dispute between the indigenous peoples and the conquistadors as to land ownership in Cuauhtinchan and surrounding areas, following the evangelizing process that began in 1527 and was intensified in 1530 with the building of the town's first convent, which seems to have entailed the dismantling of the Indian temple.

"The history begins in a sacred city under attack and continues with the people of Aztlan coming to the city's rescue. In compensation they are granted divine authority to travel long distances until they find their own city in the land promised them. Their travels are guided by priests, warriors and divinities," Carrasco said.

That sacred city and the original land of Aztlan would have been in what is today the Southwestern United States.

MC2 remained in Cuauhtinchan until 1933, the year it was sent to a regional museum and later came into the possession of an architect.

In 2001, philanthropist Espinosa Yglesias acquired the map and shortly afterwards contacted Harvard's Center of Latin American Studies to ask who could analyze the map. Harvard chose Carrasco.

The result of five years of interdisciplinary studies was the publication of the 479-page book "Cave, City, and Eagle's Nest: An Interpretive Journey Through the Map of Cuauhtinchan No. 2."

Carrasco said that in 2010 the University of New Mexico, which published the original version, will edit the version in Spanish.

"This map and the book we published to decipher it have changed our understanding of the Mesoamerican codices and of the sacred lands of that region," Carrasco said.

That new understanding has political and social significance today.

"This map links the identity and politics of Mexican-Americans, that is, the Chicano people, with the art, rituals and philosophical practices of pre-Colombian Mexicans," he said.

"The insistence of Mexican-American scholars and activists on using Aztlan as their symbol is strengthened by the history recounted by this map, since it places Mexicans in the United States within a wider history of migration, ethnic interactions, religions and rituals," the academic said.

MC2, according to Carrasco, links Chicanos "with the lands where the struggle for their freedom and rights took place before the oppression."

So great is the connection of this map with Chicanos that Colgate University astronomy professor Anthony Aveni and independent journalist Laana Carrasco - David's daughter - published a children's book telling the story of 10-year-old Mexican-American twins who "travel in time" and go on pilgrimage with their ancestors 100 years before the Spaniards arrived.

This book "connects many of the concerns and hopes of the present-day Chicano Movement with the cosmology and life of the ancient indigenous Mexicans," David Carrasco said.

Together with his students and his interdisciplinary team, Carrasco continues to study the sacred objects and numerous plants that appear on the map.

"This map is a treasure for academics because it reveals with artistic splendor and in detail the way of life of an Indian community that told its own story in the midst of a serious social conflict," he said. EFE/By Francisco Miraval

Today's News

August 25, 2009

Historic Last Column Returns to World Trade Center Site for Permanent Installation

Christie's Presents Exceptional Vintage Photographs from the Miller-Plummer Collection

Arken to Open Expanded Museum with 1,100 New Square Meters

Sotheby's London to Offer Fine Works of Art from The Celebrated Homes of Two Noble Families

Frieze Music 2009 Announced: Martin Creed at London's Sadler's Wells

Brooklyn Museum Launches New Smart Phone Customized Gallery Tours

Matt Mullican's City as a Map (of Ideas) Premieres at Gesellschaft fr Aktuelle Kunst

Free Installation Featuring Isabella Rossellini's Playful Short Films About Marine Creatures

Landmark Early Works by American Artist Alexander Calder Tell the Story of an Artist Becoming a Master

Kunstmuseum Bonn is Exhibiting Paintings from 1964-2007 by Raoul De Keyser

Art and Sport Come Together to Celebrate the People, Geography and Spirit of the Bupa Great North Run

The People's Plinth Reaches Halfway Stage

Comprehensive Solo Show by Scottish Artist David Shrigley at Kunsthalle Mainz

Art Museum to Host Watercolor Workshop with E.B. Lewis

Arkansas Arts Center Presents Exotic Lands: Europe Imagines Egypt and the East

Exhibition Reflective of our Contemporary Atmosphere at Catholic Convent of St. Cecilia

Multi-Talented Ensemble, Quixotic, to Stage Performance Outside Museum

Ancient Map Offers Key to Mesoamerican History

An Intriguing New Work by Artist Craig Walsh Takes Shape in the Powerhouse Museum

SFMOMA Presents Pickpocket Almanack: Free School Without Walls Offers Innovative Course Series to Public

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful