Ancient Mexican manuscript, new research


This video says about itself:

Lord KingsboroughThe Antiquities of Mexico Volume III – Updated

Antiquities of Mexico: comprising fac-similes of Ancient Mexican Paintings and Hierogliphics, preserved in the Royal Libraries of Paris, Berlin and Dresden; in the Imperial Library of Vienna; in the Vatican Library; in the Borgian Museum at Rome; in the Library of the Institute al Bologna, and in the Bodleian Library at Oxford; together with the Monuments of New Spain by M. Dupaix; the whole illustrated with many valuables inedit Manuscripts by Lord Kingsborough; the drawings on stone by A. Aglio

Vol. I. Copy of the Collection of Mendoza, preserved in the Selden Collection of Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford (73 pág.); Copy of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis, preserved in the Royal Library at Paris (93 pág.); Fac-simile of the original Mexican Hieroglyphic Painting, from the Collection of Boturini (23 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting in the Collection of Sir Thomas Bodley in the Bodleian Library at Oxford (40 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Hieroglyphic Painting, preserved in the Selden Collection of Manuscripsts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Vol. II. Copy of a Mexican Manuscripts, preserved in the Library of the Vatican (149 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican painting given to the University of Oxford by Archbishop Laud, and preserved in the Bodleian Library (46 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting, preserved in the Library of the Institute at Bologna (24 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting, preserved in the Imperial Library at Vienna (66 pág.); Fac-similes of original Mexican Paintings deposited in the Royal Library at Berlin by the Baron de Humboldt, and of Mexican Bas-relief preserved in the Royal Cabinet of Antiques.

Vol. III. Fac-simile of an original Mexican painting, preserved in the Borgian Museums, at College of Propaganda in Rome (76 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting, preserved in the Royal Library at Dresden (74 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting in the possession of M. de Fejérváry, at Pess in Hungary (44 pág.); Fac-simile of an original Mexican Painting, preserved in the Library of the Vatican (96 pág.).

Vol. IV. Monuments of New Spain by M. Dupaix, from the original drawings executed by order of the King of Spain Specimens of Mexican Sculpture, in the possession of M. Latour Allard in Paris; Specimens of Mexican preserved in the British Museum; Plates copied from the Giro del Mondo of Gemelli Careri: with an engraving of a Mexican Cycle, from a painting formerly in the possession of Boturini; Specimen of Peruvian Quipis, with plates representing a carved Peruvian box containing a collection of supposed Peruvian Quipus.

Vol. V. Extrait de l’ouvrage de M. de Humboldt sur Les Monuments de l’Amerique; Esplicación [sic.] de la Colección de Mendoza; Explicación del Codez Telleriano-Remensis; Codice Mexicano che si conserva nella Biblioteca Vaticana; Viages [sic.] de Guillermo Dupaix sobre Antigüedades Mexicanas; Libro sexto de la Retórica y Filosofía Moral y Teológica de la gente mexicana donde hay cosas muy curiosas tocantes a los primores de la lengua y cosas muy delicadas tocantes a las virtudes morales / por…Bernardino de Sahagún.

Vol. VI. Historia Universal de las cosas de la Nueva España / por…Bernardino de Sahagún. — Vol.VII. Appendix: the interpretatione of the Hieroglyphical Paintings of the Collection of Mendoza; The explanation of the Hieroglyphical Paintings of the Codex Telleriano-Remensis; The traslation of the explanation of the Mexican Paintings of the Codex Vaticanus; The monuments of the New Spain by M. Dupaix

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

High-tech imaging reveals rare precolonial Mexican manuscript hidden from view for 500 years

Published on 16 August 2016

Researchers from the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries and from universities in the Netherlands have used high-tech imaging to uncover the details of a rare Mexican codex dating from before the colonisation of America.

The newly-revealed codex, or book, has been hidden from view for almost 500 years, concealed beneath a layer of plaster and chalk on the back of a later manuscript known as the Codex Selden, which is housed at the Bodleian Libraries. Scientists have used hyperspectral imaging to reveal pictographic scenes from this remarkable document and have published their findings in the Journal of Archaeology: Reports.

Ancient Mexican codices are some of the most important artefacts of early Mexican culture and they are particularly rare. Codex Selden, also known as Codex Añute, dates from around 1560 and is one of less than 20 known Mexican codices to have survived the colonisation of America. Of those, it is one of only five surviving manuscripts from the Mixtec area, now known as Oaxaca in Mexico. These codices use a complex system of pictures, symbols and bright colours to narrate centuries of conquering dynasties and genealogies as well as wars and the history of ancient cities. In essence these codices provide the best insight into the history and culture of early Mexico.

Since the 1950s, scholars have suspected that Codex Selden is a palimpsest: an older document that has been covered up and reused to make the manuscript that is currently visible. Codex Selden consists of a 5-metre-long strip of deer hide that has been covered with white plaster made from gypsum and chalk, and folded in a concertina format into a 20-page document. The manuscript underwent a series of invasive tests in the 1950s when one page was scraped, uncovering a vague image that hinted at the possibility that an earlier Mexican codex is hidden beneath.

Until now, no other technique has been able to unveil the concealed narrative in a non-invasive way. The organic paint that was used to create the vibrant images on early Mexican codices does not absorb x-rays, which rules out x-ray analysis that is commonly used to study later works of art.

‘After 4 or 5 years of trying different techniques, we’ve been able to reveal an abundance of images without damaging this extremely vulnerable item. We can confirm that Codex Selden is indeed a palimpsest,’ said Ludo Snijders from Leiden University, who conducted the research with David Howell from the Bodleian Libraries and Tim Zaman from the University of Delft. This is the first time an early Mexican codex has been proven to be a palimpsest.

‘What’s interesting is that the text we’ve found doesn’t match that of other early Mixtec manuscripts. The genealogy we see appears to be unique, which means it may prove invaluable for the interpretation of archaeological remains from southern Mexico,’ Snjiders said.

Some pages feature more than 20 characters sitting or standing in the same direction. Similar scenes have been found on other Mixtec manuscripts, representing a King and his council. But the analysis of this particular text shows that the characters are both male and female, raising interesting questions about what the scene represents.

The imaging has also revealed a prominent individual who appears repeatedly on the document and is represented by a large glyph consisting of a twisted chord and a flint knife. The name seems to resemble a character found in other Mexican codices: the Codex Bodley (in the Bodleian’s collection) and Codex Zouche-Nuttall (in the British Museum).That character is an important ancestor of two lineages connected to the important archaeological sites of Zaachila and Teozacualco in Mexico. However, further analysis is needed to confirm that it is the same individual.

The researchers analysed seven pages of the codex for this study and revealed other images including people walking with sticks and spears, women with red hair or headdresses and place signs containing the glyphs for rivers. They are continuing to scan the remainder of the document with the aim of reconstructing the entire hidden imagery, allowing the text to be interpreted more fully.

‘Hyperspectral imaging has shown great promise in helping us to begin to reconstruct the story of the hidden codex and ultimately to recover new information about Mixtec history and archaeology,’ said David Howell, Head of Heritage Science at the Bodleian Libraries. ‘This is very much a new technique, and we’ve learned valuable lessons about how to use hyperspectral imaging in the future both for this very fragile manuscript and for countless others like it.’

Mexican Revillagigedo Islands now World Heritage Site


This video says about itself:

Mexico’s Revillagigedo Islands Become UNESCO World Heritage Site

20 July 2016

Four volcanic islands situated off the Pacific coast of Mexico were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday.

Motmot bird festival in Yucatan, Mexico


This video says about itself:

Turquoise-browed Motmot. Near Cerro Lodge. Tarcoles and Carara National Park. Costa Rica, Noel Ureña.

From BirdLife:

Celebrating the colourful Motmot in the Yucatan Birdfair

By Pronatura México, 10 June 2016

Over 15 years ago, the bright plumage of the Turquoise-browed Motmot

I was privileged to see this beautiful bird in Costa Rica.

Eumomota superciliosa inspired the creation of the Motmot Festival in the Mexican state of Yucatan, one of the most important areas for birds in the country.

Colorful travelers, rare, enigmatic, beautiful, large or small – birds have been one of the wildlife groups that have aroused the most interest for those interested in nature-based tourism. Aiming to become a leading example of sustainable ecotourism, the Yucatan Motmot festival was born in 2002 with the idea of attracting those visitors that come to enjoy the cenotes, lowland forests, coastal dunes, mangroves and archaeological sites of the area.

The festival

The celebration has taken different shapes over the last 15 years. What began as a short weekend break in November soon became one month. Due to its success, the celebration has become a surprisingly long one – since 2010 it takes place every year between March and November. Eight months packed with birdwatching activities where everyone is invited. From tourists to birdwatchers, nature guides, students and children. Visitors can participate in a wide range of activities – from courses to workshops, photo and drawing competitions, games and birdwatching and guided nature tours around the state.

Why Yucatan?

The Yucatan Peninsula hosts around 543 species of birds – that’s 50% of the species found in the country. Approximately 40% of them are migratory and take advantage of the strategic position of the peninsula. The habitats of this region are an excellent stopover site where the birds can replenish their energy and rest before they continue their migratory journey to Central and South America. About 100 species find Yucatan so comfortable that they end their travels there!

Bird marathon

The most popular event is the Xoc chi ‘ich’ (“Bird count” in Mayan) at the end of the Festival, from the 25 to the 27 of November in the city of Merida in Yucatan province. Participants can team up with up to 8 other people. Together they get lost in the lush rainforests, secluded beaches and swampy wetlands of Yucatan. Their mission? To count as many species as possible in 29 hours. All teams are guided by a specialist so beginners can simply enjoy the walk – they only need to bring a pair of binoculars and an adventurous spirit! For those who prefer to photograph, the bird marathon is the perfect opportunity to capture unique birds in their home.

This festival is not only a chance for tourists to get to know the culture, archaeology and nature of the country, but is also an opportunity for rural communities and groups to share their riches and knowledge while getting economic benefits from the extra traffic.

For more information, follow the Facebook page Festival de las Aves TOH or visit their website.

The vivid colours of Belding’s Yellowthroat were becoming a rare sight. Luckily, the locals of Baja California Sur seem to have taking a liking to this small bird and are now getting involved in the business of ecotourism. Find out how avian research is saving species in this Mexican state: here.

Trump effigies burnt in Mexico


This video says about itself:

Mexico: Trump effigy blown up in Monterrey’s ‘Burning of Judas’ festival

26 March 2016

An effigy of a candidate for the USA Republican Party nomination Donald Trump was one of the effigies burnt in Monterrey’s “Burning of Judas” ceremony, on Saturday.

From Reuters news agency:

Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:55am EDT

Mexicans burn Donald Trump effigies in Easter ritual

MEXICO CITY | By Henry Romero and Tomas Bravo

Mexicans celebrating an Easter ritual late on Saturday burnt effigies of U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, whose anti-immigrant views have sparked outrage south of the American border.

In Mexico City’s poor La Merced neighborhood, hundreds of cheering residents yelled “death” and various insults as they watched the explosion of the grinning papier-mâché mock-up of the real estate tycoon, replete with blue blazer, red tie and his trademark tuft of blond hair.

Media reported that Trump effigies burned across Mexico, from Puebla to Mexico’s industrial hub Monterrey.

The burning is part of a widespread Mexican Holy Week tradition where neighborhoods burn effigies to represent Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ according to the Bible. The effigies are often modeled on unpopular political figures.

“Since he started his campaign and began talking about immigrants, Mexico, and Mexicans, I said ‘I’ve got to get this guy,'” said Felipe Linares, the artisan who crafted Trump and whose family has been making Judases for more than 50 years.

Trump, the front-runner to win the Republican nomination for the Nov. 8 election, has drawn fire in Mexico with his campaign vow to build a wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and to make Mexico pay for it.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said his country will not pay for the wall and likened Trump‘s “strident tone” to the ascent of dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Trump, who has also aroused concern among many in his own party with his proposals, has accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners across the border and vowed to increase fees on some Mexican visas and all border crossing cards to help make Mexico pay for the wall.

Judas effigies are burnt in villages and towns in several Latin American countries such as Venezuela and in parts of Greece. Anthropologists say the practice serves a symbolic function to overcome divisions and unite communities around a common enemy.

Linares has also done mock-ups of corrupt former union leader Elba Esther Gordillo and President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose popularity has been hit by conflict-of-interest scandals and the disappearance of 43 students at the hands of corrupt police.

(Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

According to Dutch NOS TV, ISIS effigies were burnt in Mexico as well.

USA and Mexico, from Pancho Villa to Donald Trump


Donald Trump and other racists in the US Republican party, cartoon by Ted Rall

By Peter Frost in Britain:

The day Pancho Villa gave as good as he got

Friday 11th March 2016

At the time when a US presidential candidate denigrates Mexicans PETER FROST recalls how 100 years ago the legendary rebel gave the US a taste of its own medicine

Racist US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has hit on a richly sympathetic seam of historical US bigotry with his attack on Mexico and Mexicans.

Trump is happy to tell his public that Mexicans are all drug dealers, criminals and rapists. Sadly, far too many US citizens seem only too happy to believe him.

Trump’s main policy promise is to build a wall along the US-Mexico border and to make the Mexicans pay the cost of the wall.

It is all bullshit and bollocks of course but Trump won’t be the first US president to ride to success on a tidal wave of that particular malodorous mixture.

Political tensions between Mexico and its northern neighbour have a very long history. Indeed, exactly 100 years ago this week, March 9 1916, a group of Mexicans led by the revolutionary leader Pancho Villa actually invaded the US.

At that time Mexico was run by an unelected dictator Porfirio Diaz and the rich landowners were transforming the agriculture of the country by industrialising sugar production. Their profits rocketed while peasant farmers — treated little better than slaves — found themselves with no land to grow food. Poverty and starvation stalked the land.

Pancho Villa was a classic example of what communist historian Eric Hobsbawm called a social bandit. He became a folk hero despite, or perhaps because of, the way he used crime to finance his revolution and equip the men who flocked to join his rebel band.

He was born in 1878 as Doroteo Arango only later in life would he take the name Francisco “Pancho” Villa (Pancho is the nickname for Francisco).

When Villa was 15, his father died. The boy began to work as a sharecropper to help support his mother and four siblings.

One day in 1894, Villa came home from the fields to find that the owner of the hacienda was about to rape his 12-year-old sister. He grabbed a pistol and shot the man dead. He was 16. To escape retribution he headed for the mountains of Sierra Madre Occidental in the region of Durango.

From 1894 to 1910, Villa spent most of his time there as an outlaw. By 1896, he had joined other bandits and soon became their leader. This band would steal cattle, rob shipments of money and rob the wealthy to give to the poor. It was during this time that he began using the name Pancho Villa.

In 1910 revolution was in the Mexican air. Francisco Madero set out to remove the dictator Diaz and aware of Villa’s growing reputation and popularity recruited him to lead a cavalry force in the revolutionary war.

Villa and his well trained and motivated band crushed Diaz’s undisciplined conscript troops in battle after battle.

Each victory brought more men into Villa’s ever-growing army. He realised the value of the media and signed a contract with a Hollywood company to make live action films of his battle victories.

After only a few months, Madero’s forces emerged triumphant and Diaz was removed from power. But democracy in Mexico wasn’t going to be that easy. Almost immediately following the revolution one of Madero’s top generals, Victoriano Huerta, murdered Madero, threw Villa in prison and declared himself president of Mexico.

In 1913 Pancho escaped and crossed the Rio Grande with just eight men. He marched towards Mexico City, gathering supporters along the way. His force became known as The Division of the North.

His army consisted entirely of cavalry, and he was one of the first military commanders in history to use railways as a means of moving men and artillery across long distances so they could join battle more quickly.

Villa purchased supplies and equipment from the US, raising money by robbing trains and rich landowners and won battle after battle against Huerta’s men. In only a few months he had liberated the state of Chihuahua and became its governor.

Villa’s campaign of revenge against Huerta was quick and efficient, often using unorthodox guerrilla tactics. At the battle of Tierra Blanca he hijacked an enemy locomotive, loaded it up with explosives and crashed it into an enemy train depot, destroying tons of critical supplies.

Perhaps his greatest victory came when his troops captured the the mountain-top fortress of Zacatecas. This was the home of Mexico’s silver reserve. This daring raid essentially broke the back of Huerta’s war machine and filled the revolution’s coffers.

Just weeks later Villa marched into Mexico City to link up with fellow revolutionary Emiliano Zapata — in the city, however, they met resistance from another revolutionary leader, the conservative Venustiano Carranza.

Carranza had the support of the US government who had supplied him with heavy machine guns. This superior firepower allowed him to drive Villa and Zapata from the city.

Upset by the US taking Carranza’s side in the revolution, in March 1916 Villa took his cavalry and mounted the only successful foreign invasion of US soil in the 20th century, riding into the town of Columbus, New Mexico.

Despite the best efforts of the US 13th Cavalry, Villa’s men captured a large quantity of guns and ammunition before escaping back across the border.

Just like Trump today the US government was not happy. A few days after the raid 6,000 US cavalrymen under General John J Pershing crossed the border to search out Villa and his men.

The search techniques they used were a strange mixture of old and new and included traditional bloodhounds and one of the first ever uses of aerial reconnaissance.

Finally after 10 months of searching, they returned home empty-handed.

By 1920 Carranza had been deposed and replaced by new leadership under Alvaro Obregon and Villa, now aged 42, declared his retirement. Three years later he was assassinated.

Pancho Villa is still remembered and honoured. His tactics and strategies shaped the way that guerilla war would be fought in years to come. His memory inspired other revolutionaries around the globe not least in South and Central America.

Whale saved from illegal net


This video says about itself:

23 February 2016

Sea Shepherd crew rescued a [humpback] whale entangled in an illegal totoaba gillnet in the Gulf of California.

Sea Shepherd currently has two vessels in Mexico’s Gulf of California on OPERATION MILAGRO.

Our goal is to save the vaquita porpoises, the most endangered marine mammal.

The vaquita are caught as a result of fishing the totoaba, a fish poached for its swim bladder.

Both the vaquita and the totoaba are endangered species and protected by law.

Both species live only in the Gulf of California.

See also here.

Canyon wren in Mexico, video


This video says about itself:

A Canyon Wren moves around its rocky home

24 February 2016

Canyon Wrens are found throughout the arid mountain country and canyonlands of western North America. These birds nest and feed in narrow rock crevices, gleaning spiders and insects from rock surfaces, often from tight cracks in the rock.

Video recorded by Eric Liner/Macaulay Library in Sonora, Mexico.