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Each of the chapters of this book approaches the above project from a different angle. Chapter one stresses the claim to authorship in the name of political authority, with a focus on Viceroy Mendoza and his role in commissioning the Escorial manuscript in the late s. Also highlighted are a number of hypotheses regarding the dissemination of fragments, alternate drafts, or manuscript copies during the colonial period, authorship of which has been attributed, over the years, to a variety of individuals, from Don Antonio Huitzimhgari the son of the last cazonci of Michoaciin to the Augustinian and Jesuit rivals of the early Franciscans of the region.

Chapter two puts the accent on the contributions of the friar-compiler, and it is here that I explore in detail the notion of authorship that he articulates in his prologue. One of my reasons for avoiding references to the friar by name throughout this book is that I see his decision to remain anonymous as more than simply an act of Christian humility. It is also an important part of his editorial strategy, which aims to foreground the roots of the text in oral tradition in order to more easily disavow the claim to truth of the pagan belief system expressed therein.

This second chapter focuses on the disjunction between the contributions of the friar and those of the indigenous participants, especially insofar as they can be reconstructed through an analysis of last-minute changes made to the manuscript by the hand of the principal correctorwho is almost certainly the friar-compiler. The final three chapters collectively redefine the role of the caracha, petiimuti, and Don Pedro Cuiniariingari who served as indigenous governor from to as additional authors in the sense of their being active contributors to the production of textual meaning, each with a distinctive vision of the project as a whole.

Through analogy with some of the principal metaphors that serve to structure the prose narrative, I show how the drawings partake of their own form of symbolic language. Thus, spatiotemporal position becomes the equivalent of grammar, and the greater or lesser use of indigenous versus European pictorial conventions in the representation of particular figures, an indication of the lexical mixing common throughout the Americas. His discourse, humorous in parts, is peppered with references to familiar landmarks, to the ancestors of the various members of his audience, to a shared set of knowledge and experiences.

With the exception of the relatively infrequent commentary provided by the friar-compiler, there are few concessions to the uninitiated. At the same time the petiimuti does not draw a sharp distinction between pre- and postconquest Michoaciin.

He notes the presence of church bells and other evidence of recent missionizing and colonizing efforts in the same breath with which he speaks of the marks of earlier foundational moments that draw their force from the divine power attributed to springs, rocks, and mountains. This remapping of identities weaves together past, present, and hture, time and space, the lives of gods and mortals. Finally, in chapter five I analyze the uneasy tension between political expediency and political advocacy that characterizes the perspective of Don Pedro Cuiniariingari.

CAMPESINO - Definition and synonyms of campesino in the English dictionary

For those who seek to elucidate the links between colonial-era figures and present-day advocates for greater indigenous political and cultural autonomy, his story can be read in tandem with Bartolome de las Casas's critique of the injustices of colonial rule. For all those interested in recasting familiar stories in order to define more actively the role of indigenous participants, his narrative implicitly undermines essentialist models of cultural authenticity by highlighting the masks worn by conquered and conqueror alike.

My ultimate goals are to assist the readers of the Relacio'n de Michoachn in training their ears to pick up the distinctive modulations of the voices of the friar, the petiimuti, the indigenous governor, and the other informants and their eyes to perceive symbolic patterns in the drawings made by the caracha. Parts of what each of these contributors has to say may strike present-day readers as odd or offensive, but there is much of value to be unearthed through the systematic excavation of the various strata. Indeed, the full measure of their contributions cannot be taken without a keen awareness both of our own cultural and temporal distance from the viewpoints expressed by the various participants and also, conversely, our common humanity.

My general overview of how the missionary-compilers of New Spain went about researching the antiquities of the peoples they had come to convert is complemented by an analysis of clues contained in the Escorial manuscript itself regarding the way in which it was assembled. I have also cast a relatively wide net in my subsequent discussion of points of contact between the Escorial manuscript and other texts from the colonial period that touch on the customs of the indigenous inhabitants of Michoacsn.

I hypothesize that the production of multiple drafts by the friarcompiler of the ReZacidn de Michoacdn and his indigenous assistants circa , of which the Escorial manuscript is the only one known to have survived, did more to assure the circulation of the material it contained over the course of the colonial period than has been generally recognized. The extant remnants of this multistaged project, and the traces of it that can be extrapolated from related texts, provide a glimpse ofwhat the complete enterprise was all about.

Like the ruins of the great Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan, whose surviving structures provide little indication of the vibrant hues with which they were once decorated, efforts to reconstruct the work of the participants in the making of the Escorial manuscript must, of necessity, leave something to the imagination.

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A touchstone against which to measure the influence of the ReZacicin de Michoacdn from colonial times to the present is a letter from the first viceroy of New Spain, Don Antonio de Mendoza, to the first official chronicler of the Indies, Gonzalo Ferniindez de Oviedo y Vald6,s,2 dated October 6, In the letter Mendoza expresses confidence that a definitive account of the things of Michoaciin, due in large part to his own efforts, will soon come to rival popular descriptions of the customs and life-style of the inhabitants of the central valley of Mexico: La relaci6n de las cosas desta tierra yo he procurado de sabello muy particularmen te, e hallo diversas opiniones; porque como habia muchos senores en cada provincia, cuentan las cosas de su manera.

Yo las ando recogiendo e verificando, y hecho, OS 10 enviar6; porque me paresce que seria cosa muy vergonzosa que OS enviase yo relaci6n y que me aleghedes por auctor dello, no siendo muy verdadera. Y 10 de aqui no es tan poco que no podAis hacer libro dello, e no ser5 pequeiio; porque aunque Montezuma e Mejico es 10 que entre nosotros ha sonado, no era menor seiior el Cazonzi de Mechuach, y otros que no reconoscian a1 uno ni al otro.

Oviedo [ , ; bk.

And what I have here is not so negligible that you cannot make a book of it, and it will not be a little one. Among the relaciones, or oral testimonies, that Mendoza was in the process of collecting, he mentions with special enthusiasm one from the province of Michoaciin.

The material collected, he assures Oviedo, is substantial. Certainly, such an enthusiastic endorsement must be seen, to a considerable degree, as advance propaganda for a manuscript Mendoza had himself commissioned. No less noteworthy, however, is the subsequent lack of explicit mention made of the project by Mendoza or, indeed, by any of his contemporaries, in the available documentary record.

While I harbor no illusions that this particular analysis will magically remove the remaining obstacles to a fuller appreciation of this complex and multifaceted text, I am convinced that, before another wave of scholarly attention can examine it productively, it is necessary to bring into sharper focus the context in which it was produced. Rather than personal glory, the primary goal of these missionaries was the evangelization of the indigenous population, a task that could only be achieved through the collective endeavors of numerous individuals.

Sahagfin, who like Olmos taught at the Colegio de Santa Cruz in Tlatelolco, undertook the most comprehensive study of Nahua life and customs, overseeing the compilation of over a dozen manuscripts on the subject between and His ambitious plan, never fully realized, entailed sifting through and organizing this material into separate columns for the testimony in Nahuatl, its translation into Castilian, and accompanying pictures plus editorial commentary Le6n-Portilla , Another Franciscan, Diego de Landa, wrote an account of the traditions of the Mayas of Yucatiin in By the latter part of the century, these friars werejoined by members of other religious orders, such as the Dominicans Pedro de 10s Rios and Diego Duriin and the Jesuit Juan de Tovar.

Then, based on the testimony of old men, survivors of the conquest who were well versed in the traditional forms of knowledge, he set about to decipher the contents of these books and interpret them for a European audience.


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Olmos also included a collection of huehuetlatolli traditional oral discourses in his Nahuatl grammar of This basic model was followed in all the works cited above, although the relative weight given to any particular component varies considerably. Thus, in some cases the oral testimony of the indigenous nobles predominates; in others more weight is given to personal observations or commentary by the friars.

While some manuscripts are bilingual, the majority are in Castilian with a sprinkling of indigenous terminology. In some cases these manuscripts consist essentially of pictographs with alphabetic writing as a gloss on the drawings; at the other end of the spectrum are those that d o not include drawings, although the information they contain may be based at least in part on pictorial sources.

Guide Historias de Un Campesino, Hijo de La Merced del Playón (Spanish Edition)

The clues provided by the anonymous friar, for instance, are less extensive than those of some of his fellow missionary-compilers: namely, a few comments about his reasons for undertaking the project; some clarifications regarding matters of style and translation; the attribution of certain sections to one informant or another; and a few references to dates of compilation.

This reserve on the part of the friar-compiler is compounded by the fact that there is no unequivocal mention made of the project in other sixteenth-century sources except for the aforementioned letter by Viceroy Mendoza. Moreover, the lack of success to date in unearthing earlier drafts of the Escorial manuscript-a state of affairs that contrasts markedly with the well-documented stages of the Sahagun tine project-hrther complicates the reconstruction process.

In the absence of multiple manuscripts representing distinct chronological moments, the need to highlight the multilayered dimension of the text as palimpsest becomes more pronounced. The advantage of the palimpsest metaphor is that it translates a temporal concept-successive stages of production-in to a spatial one-overlapping layers of graphic signs. In other words it provides a model for explaining how a number of individuals could have left their marks on the same manuscript at different points in time. Thus, although the notion of palimpsest does not adequately convey the nature of the Relacidn de Michoaccin as an enterprise grounded as much in oral as in written tradition, for the purpose of this chapter the emphasis on the materiality of the book as artifact is appropriate.

Fortunately, there is no lack of additions, emendations, lacunae, and inconsistencies in the Escorial manuscript. Consider, for example, the relative functions of the five hands identified in plates , the first four of which correspond to copyists, the fifth to the principal corrector.

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Evidence regarding the making of the Relacibn de Michoacan can also be gleaned from the dual nature of the Escorial manuscript-its juxtaposition of prose and pictures. As will be discussed in greater detail in chapter two, the frontispiece is invaluable for the information it provides on the various participants.

Once again, however, the bulk of the data results directly from the unpolished nature of the manuscript, from what is missing or not fully integrated into the structure put in place by the copyists. Immediately apparent are the nine blank spaces for drawings that were never completed, the majority of which are located at the end of part three.

Since the scribe responsible for this section anticipated the inclusion of additional pictures, it follows that he must have had some prior knowledge of what the painters would be contributing to the manuscript during the subsequent stage of production. The procedure followed in part two,in contrast, suggests that the majority of the pictures located there were included as an afterthought: they are either squeezed into blank spaces at the ends of chapters or painted over the original titles, which were whited out to make room for them.

In some cases the excess of pigment applied has led to cracks that allow some of the original titles to show through, as on plates 15,16, 19, located on folios ,, A third type of relationship between prose and pictures is exemplified by several full-page drawings plates ,44 [27, 44 in color section]; folios , 5, 9, 46, respectively that are structurally separate from the alphabetic narrative and that may correspond to an earlier stage in the compilation process. The paper used for some, if not all, of these drawings is also different from that utilized in other parts of the manuscript. Curiously, the blank pages that derive from the same sheet as plate 27 folios contain the description of a Nahua calendar wheel attributed to Motolinia.

In addition to my own examination of Ms. I postulate that, like Olmos and Sahagiin, the friar-compiler of the Relacio'n de Michoacan began his investigation based drawings that served to elicit the initial oral testimonies.

Meaning of "merced" in the Spanish dictionary

Significantly, all but one of the chapters explicitly related to the above topics are grouped together at the beginning of part three; of the structurally separate drawings, three include alphabetic glosses in the hand of the principal corrector plates He keeps it all in his house and is in charge of collectingthe petutes and mats from the officials for general use. It is as if the friar-compiler had decided at the last minute to insert into the completed manuscript the original drawing that had served to elicit the oral testimony.

The comparison between prose and pictures is also interesting for the light it sheds on other aspects of the production process. It is noteworthy, for instance, that the transcriptions of the name of the indigenous official described above do not coincide exactly in the two locations; to wit, a syllable is missing in the pictorial notation. Based on other sixteenthcentury sources, the prose version turns out to be more accurate. Both pictures show the petiimuti overseeing the judgment and punishment of those called uazcata accused criminals , with angamecha those who wear lip plugs , representing the four parts of the irichequa, observing the ritual seated on three-legged stools while smoking tobacco pipes.

The resemblance to a portion of the Tzintzuntzan codex and the glosses in alphabetic writing in the hand of the principal corrector indicate that, like the full-page drawings, either it or a prototype may have been used at an earlier stage in the compilation process as a basis for eliciting the accompanying oral testimony. In this case it would appear that, while the copyists anticipated the inclusion of certain pictures based on a previously agreed-upon plan for ordering the various parts of the narrative, the painters were working from an earlier pictorial draft or outline that followed a different order.

Thus, the carari,or scribe-painter, responsible for this picture could easily have failed to take into account the additional prose chapter inserted into the section on marital ceremonies. Indeed, this is pre-. In general the methodology that can be reconstructed from a study of the physical evidence contained in Escorial Ms.

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These operations include the glossing of pictures, the transcription and translation of oral testimonies, their division into chapters, the insertion of editorial commentary, the production of a clean copy, the inclusion of additional drawings, and the making of final corrections. The Escorial manuscript may not be as polished or complete as some of its counterparts, but it is no less multilayered. At the time he wrote this letter, Mendoza was actively engaged in rivalry with H e r n h Cortes over the allegiance of the Spaniards resident in the colony and their indigenous allies.

Only two years previously he had personally organized an expedition, headed by his close friend Francisco Visquez de Coronado, to the northern frontier of New Spain to discover a kingdom called Cibola, which, it was rumored, far surpassed the empire conquered by Cortes in wealth and splendor.

Subsequently, with the outbreak of the Mixt6n War in , followed by the consolidation of power in the viceregal capital and shattering of illusions about the fabulous seveii cities of Cibola, the incentive to gain greater recognition for less familiar indigenous groups, and for the northwestern provinces in particular, was correspondingly reduced.