Codex Telleriano-Remensis

The civilizations of pre-Hispanic Mexico recorded their histories, religious beliefs, and scientific knowledge in books called codices. Codices are folded pieces of hide or bark that depict both mundane and spiritual scenes with images, symbols, and numbers. Scribes and painters busily recorded daily affairs, filling libraries and temples with books throughout Mexico and Central America. The majority of these illustrated books did not survive the Spanish conquest. But indigenous scribes trained by Spanish missionaries continued writing. While these colonial-era texts were still filled with pictures, over time they referenced the visual language of older Mexican and Maya books less and less. These new books about community histories (including land titles) and secret religious traditions were sometimes bilingual, combining Spanish with either Náhautl (the common language of central Mexico) or a Mayan language, both of which were now written with the Latin alphabet. This image is from an Italian reproduction of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, a manuscript co-written by Spanish friar Pedro de los Ríos about 1550. It documents the religious beliefs, calendar system, traditions, and history of the Tolteca-Chichimeca culture of Central Mexico. Joseph Florimond, Duc de Loubat, (1837–1921) was an American philanthropist who published a series of reproductions of pre-Hispanic and colonial-era Mexican manuscripts, including the Codex Telleriano-Remensis. The Graphic Arts Collection of the National Museum of American History houses several reproductions of Mesoamerican codices published for study by French, German, and Italian scholars at the turn of the 20th century.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Photomechanical Lithographic Processes
Date made
Associated Date
Duc de Loubat
Physical Description
parchment (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 18 in x 13 in; 45.72 cm x 33.02 cm
Place Made
Italia: Lazio, Rome
place of publication
Italia: Toscana, Florence
site of original
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Cultures & Communities
Mexican America
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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