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4359 - "Production" of Indigenous Pictorial Manuscripts to the East of the Basin of Mexico

Why do we have--or have knowledge of--indigenous pictorial manuscripts such as the Mapa de Metlatoyuca, Papeles de Itzcuintepec, Códice de Chiconquiaco, Torquemada’s report of a Totonac history, Lienzos de Tuxpan, and Códice de Xicotepec? Colonial administrative demands and economic clashes provoking lawsuits are responsible to a considerable degree, but are quite similar to the pre-colonial demands and pressures. Additionally, there is a distinctively indigenous drive for precise but interpretable “social memory” arising from longstanding needs of micropolities in an environment of shifting, often ethnic, hegemonies. This paper explores the kinds of events that led to our knowledge of the manuscripts and how and why such manuscripts were created in both the pre-contact and colonial eras, with special attention paid to the Totonac. Recent research by C. Townsend, A. Megged, S. Wood and K. Mikulska-Dabrowska on indigenous historiography, “social memory” and perception of “codices” is combined to point out why treating indigenous manuscripts as predominately post-colonial historiographic distortions creates a variety of interesting ironies that highlight Western historians’ inability to recognize their own images in the historiographic mirror.

Keywords: Códice de Xicotepec Mapa de Metlatoyuca Papeles de Itzcuintepec Totonacs Social memory

Author: Offner, Jerome (Independent, Ud States of Am / USA)

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