The Persistence of Nahua Culture

“Map of Property from Will of Juan de la Cruz, Teocaltitlan, Mexico City,”
in Documents pertaining to property in Teocaltitlan and San Pedro de Calimaya [manuscript], 1678-1781
Ink on European paper, 1678

Although stained and damaged, this plan from Juan de la Cruz's will bequeathing land to his wife, María de los Ángeles, clearly indicates the ongoing use of Nahua pictorial writing to convey information, especially in legal documents related to property. Arms, hands, and a heart combined with dots indicate the dimensions of the property; footprints mark paths of movement. There are two informative Nahuatl notations: Tlama[n]tliyn, a reference to “something being given,” and Tonatiuh Icalaquianpa[n] meaning “west.”

Newberry Library: Ayer MS 1477 folder 1

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