Leaf through this gorgeous pre-Columbian indigenous manuscript

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/13/leaf-through-this-gorgeous-pre-columbian-indigenous-manuscript.html


High res images here



which apparently translates as “offer facsimiles for sale”. Apparently you can get a copy of the Codex Zouche-Nuttall for a mere $932 - which actually sounds like a reasonable price.

They offer many other beautiful texts.


Who filmed this and can anybody explain to me why they’re not wearing gloves? As noted, “It’s one of the most important artifacts of indigenous Mesoamerican culture before the arrival of Europeans” and one can’t be bothered to take basic archival precautions when handling it!?

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Hmmm… A thought just occurred to me. Is this perhaps a facsimile and not the original?


“Pre-Columbian” is such a dated word. Without giving it much thought, growing up I mind of thought the phrase was about ancient history, like the “Cambrian period”. Ie ancient history, with primitive people.

It’s only in the last ten years that I actually caught the meaning, wow. I was pleased that Buffy St. Marie in her biography a few years ago that she misinterpreted the meaning too.

Once I grasped that, it seems better to use “pre-contact” (which then is a rolling point, as Europeans spread across North America), and also doesn’t make things European centric.

People, including my ancestors, were doing their everyday things when some new people showed up.

I used “pre-Columbian” because I submitted it yesterday. “Pre-contact” is too vague. There is a hypothesis that Polynesians and/or East Asians may have made it to Mesoamerica via the Pacific before Europeans. Pre-colonial, perhaps?


People should also be aware that the reason we know so little about these people’s history is that the Spanish systematically burned EVERYTHING. It’s not that these people weren’t literate or didn’t use books or keep records…it was purposely destroyed. (No, not everyone was literate, but lots were)

There is no telling what was lost - absolutely priceless.


IMO, Pre-Columbian works. There is a clear, distinct line in the sand of time separating the two eras.

Using Columbus has some negative connotations - but I think that is fine. It should have negative connotations.

YMMV. Void where prohibited.


Gloves are actually a contentious issue in paper archiving. https://www.loc.gov/preservation/about/faqs/books.html#gloves https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/blog/the-white-glove-debate/


Hi there! This is Giovanni, in this video you see my hands.
Thanks for raising the concern of bare hands on a precious object, so let me clarify: as you rightly noted, this is a facsimile (e.g. a replica) of the original. Facsimiles are made so that they are durable and usable, with the highest quality paper. In addition to this, it’s very interesting to know that the mainstream opinion of conservators and museum keepers now is that white cotton gloves might bring more harm than good, even to original manuscripts! The British Library posted a nice piece on this (I can’t link to it, but if you search “British Library white gloves” on a search engine you’ll find it.)

For all our videos we don’t use white gloves. We wash our hands carefully, and handle the objects with much love!


Thanks for the response - that was helpful. As well, @moortaktheundea and the links provided on the debate. I leave being more educated than on arrival.


Thanks a lot for your explanations, and welcome to BoingBoing!


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