Browse Exhibits (2 total)
The Codex Mendoza is the visual text of the Aztec people. The subject of daily life in Mesoamerica is integral to one’s understanding of the Mesoamerican culture, as enterprise and recreation are the makings of a people, and thus a culture. These activities and actions, which are depicted throughout the codex, give art historians a greater insight into Mesoamerican culture; the Codex Mendoza is a visual summary of the daily life of the Aztecs. A focus on daily life reveals not only the practices of the Aztec people, but their values and ideologies. Daily life was of importance to the Aztec’s as they are illustrated throughout the codex by the Tlacuilo, the artist scribe who created these manuscripts. The Codex Mendoza has a whole section dedicated to daily life; each folio depicts a different aspect of a human’s existence. Studying the daily life within the Codex Mendoza helps art historians gain a greater understanding of the Aztec peoples of Mesoamerica through unpacking the importance of these daily rituals and tasks. In this section, the daily life entitles to four specific subcategories that will expand and elaborate into apprenticeship, the judicial system, usage of tools, and how gender roles took part in aztec society. The Judicial System is very important for us to understand as we need to know what would happen when someone would break the rules. As we can see in the Codex Mendoza, the children are told to never do wrong because if they do, they end up being punished. It is interesting to see how exactly people would be punished and if it was the same of what was told to them. It helps out with how to live daily life, as well as gives us an insight on theirs. In addition, Mesoamerican tools were of the utmost importance due to their practical and symbolic significance. For instance, tools made out of jade represented maize and vice versa, an important staple crop in Mesoamerica. Similarly, mythological imagery and references would be further used in present life in order to show symbolic importance. Tools were especially important to day-to-day practices in a practical sense due to the Aztec’s use of “chinampas” or “floating gardens,” which were a vital food source. Overall, these functions create the Aztec society, giving us an insight of how it is seen in today’s world, reflecting the outcomes we see in modern society. Overall, these functions will guide us not only from our past, but will perhaps be a blueprint for our future.
The Florentine Codex by Fray Bernadino de Sahagun displays a plethora of ideas and rituals practiced by various Mesoamerican cultures. Specifically, the theme of dress and adornment is one which covers many, if not all, of what is portrayed in the Florentine Codex about the social, political, economic, religious, and military aspects. Each of the images chosen within the team help to relay each element of Mesoamerican culture.
Analyzing the dress and adornment which was portrayed in the Florentine Codex is crucial because much like today, the clothing people wear is often an accurate portrayal of their identity. How people dress and adorn themselves is significant of how they are to be presented to the world; and speaks to their reputation, class, religious standing, and more. This theme allows for the study of more than merely clothing, but what it means and represents for different people.
Additionally, the uniformity of clothing is significant in that it brings all types of people into the study; whether young or old, rich or poor. Exploring the theme of deity clothing, the Florentine Codex draws a connection between social class and religious costumes in the Aztec culture. For instance, the depiction the attire of Tlazolteotl in Folio 48 highlights the influence of deities over commoners.
Through the use of symbols the role of physical objects, such as offerings and body perforation, in the devotional rituals to Tlazolteotl influenced the relationship between individuals and the supernatural world. Stressing on the symbols that the goddess conveys individuals believed that their clothing could be associated with the fertility aspect of Tlazolteotl. Also, on folio 32, the illustration of Quetzalcoatl, Ciaocoatl, Cihuatl, and Tetuinna highlights how the gods are viewed through the lens of Aztec culture.
By clothing the gods in Aztec clothing, the gods are being presented in a way that makes socio-political statements, as well as highlights each god’s unique role. Along with analyzing the dress and adornment of the gods, we will also observe the clothing and decoration of some of the highest regarded members of society, the warrior class, and the lower members of society, the auianime or wicked women. We acknowledge the fact that the Florentine Codex was a colonial document with European influence and because of this, we also aim to find if what the Florentine Codex discusses about clothing and depiction of the ordinary people coincides with what is known by archaeologists and art historians.