Selected plates

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DURAN, Diego.
Atlas de la Historia de las Indias de Nueva Espana u Islas De Tierre Firme
Mexico City: Libreria Anticuaria, 1963.
4to title page (1963) plus 64 original lithographic plates (1880) and 2 facsimile plates (1963); all hand coloured clean images; with occasional marginal damp stains or marginal paper deterioration with loss; in 1960's red calf gilt and maroon cloth. VG. EXCEPTIONALLY SCARCE ATLAS VOLUME; MOST COPIES DESTROYED; 66 hand coloured. Sabin states that the entire edition of the first volume with the exception of a small number of copies distributed privately by the author as well as the Atlas has been confiscated by the Mexican government". Palau also noted that the edition was mostly severely water-stained. This staining probably occurred at the printers warehouse. In the 1960's. Libreria Anticuara issued a few sets of this Atlas made up from a collection of the original lithographed sheets that emerged relatively unscathed from storage - with only the marginal deteriorations noted in this copy - plus the two facsimile plates. Rare copies of the atlas on the market often lack one or two plates. Thus this copy may be considered as in unusually good condition. The Dominican friar Diego Duran's work was among the most important of the post-conquest research into native Mexican culture. The Manuscript written in 1580-81 was not published until this edition of 1867 and 1880. "No one has depicted the nature of the Indian more discerningly; furthermore he enters into minute details concerning the religious and civil practices the public and private customs and habits which other writers have disdained..." Pena History of Mexican Literature. The Aztec part is based on the Codex Ramierz considered one of the most authentic and detailed contemporary chronicles."

Coloured plates in order:

1. Two figures sitting in a cave / Two Indians with bow and arrows, spear etc.
2. Several sets of people depicted in separate 'cells' / Three Indians emerge from a Lion's mouth, carrying weapons and baskets etc.
3. A pair of people sit by a pool of water, from which arises a mound of earth containing a snake / War like peoples 'face off' against each other, whilst other people are seen sitting listening to a 'teacher' ?
4. People dressed in 'Toga like' dress, view a bird on a cactus plant in a pool, holding a snake in its beak / A teacher or leader (?) standing before a group of people seated in front of him.
5. Wealthy man sits on a golden throne talking to his people; 'Vitzili Huitl' is written across a blue ribbon / The same man stands up from his golden throne and views an occurrence of possible dire portent (?)
6. King of a God sitting on a golden chair converses with two people / A scene of bloodshed and death.
7. A bloody scene between two peoples / Peoples building a new structure, people receiving advice, or instructions from a God or a King.
8. Peoples fighting; one set attacks from the water / A royal servant gives the King his royal crown (?)
9. A pair of sacrificial scenes.
10. Peoples receiving food and clothing from a King / People attending to a King or God.
11. A god or King speaks to his people 'Axaya Catzin' written in a banner /peoples seen fighting a fierce battle.
12. The battle continues!
13. Two men are seen in individual combat, watched by the King / Assorted scene of: offerings, fighting, kneeling etc.
14. People coming to seek an audience with the King / A scene of people in a river, and two sets of people confronting each other from either side of the river.
15. A small group of people seated before their King / Two temples.
16. Sacrificial temple / People preparing to fight.
17. Offerings at an altar / People watching respectfully / A man is attended to by two men, behind them is seen a snake and a bird of prey, outside a fiery temple.
18. Men walking beside water, carrying various symbolic items / Men fighting.
19. People leave an offering to a spiritual man, fully covered in a sheet / A royal attendant gives his King his 'crown'. (?)
20. A King is seated upon his golden throne and is seen dispensing advice or instructions to a group of small children / A festival, or celebration of music and symbolic gestures.
21. Two sets of people ready to do battle across a river / People being knocked backwards to the ground (by a fierce wind?).
22. More fighting / A pair of men are assembled before the King and are admonished / punished by him.
23. Tribal men, one in a headdress either fighting, or being addressed by the King / Men assembled before the King dressed in white robes.
24. Two regional Kings (Tribal Chiefs?) converse together / Man possibly sacrificed by fire. Two men stand guard.
25. King watching a fiery comet in the sky / Men lay offerings before a figure wrapped in a sheet.
26. Two sets of men wrestle and tussle, symbols beside each / Man on a vehicle being pulled by a large number of slaves ?
27. King arrives by boat on a river to view a shrine? / People brought before the King.
28. Europeans in a ship, sailing up a river. With more boats anchored in the river, local people met the European leader of the expedition.
29. Europeans exploring mountainous regions / A European on horseback receives gifts from local peoples.
30. European leader, with his retinue of soldiers, receives a gift from influential local people / A grizzly scene inside a fortification where the European invaders, kill and torture members of the local indigenous population.
31. Local people try to do battle with European soldiers, who are holed up inside a secure fortress / Local people building wooden boats, supervised by Europeans and a local chief.
32. Battle between Indians and Europeans.
33. A man and a woman are wrapped in a white sheet, seated either side of a symbol of a cactus with an eagle on top of it, feeding on captured prey.
34. Chief seated on a chair with snake head arms, couples sitting in enclosures / People walking with elaborate head-ware.
35. Montage of water scenes / Indian people carrying baskets, bows and arrows etc.
36. Temple next to a macabre collection of human skulls, arranged in rows and columns.
37. Slaves, an armed warrior and man giving a jug to a woman / Man being sacrificed / killed.
38. Chief in a temple / Chief carrying a sunflower / Male and female carrying symbolic items.
39. Four assorted scenes with, all with symbolic meanings.
40. Three symbolic scenes, including a man dressed as a leopard, a man standing on a zodiac dial, men with clubs and spears etc.
41. Four symbolic scenes, including a human sacrifice, a medicine woman, man with elaborate headdress and men dancing around a pole etc.
42. Four symbolic scenes, including Indian rituals etc.
43. Five assorted scenes, including a captive, people kneeling, and other symbols etc.
44. Assorted games and sports?
45. Map of the seasons (?) according to the peoples of the region. The sun is central, with the four winds blowing from the corners etc.
46. A collection of many assorted symbols, including: snake, human skull, turkey, lizard, flowers, heads etc.
47. A further collection of symbols etc.
48. Six assorted symbolic scenes - perhaps to do with (in part) planting and growing crops?
49. Six assorted symbolic scenes.
50. Four assorted symbolic scenes to do with smoke and fire etc.
51. A group of three gods or symbols of Indian thinking, belief and culture. Including a man dressed as a Leopard.
52. Another set of illustrations representing Indian thinking, belief and culture.
53. A pair of multi-coloured gods.
54. A god carried aloft by two men, another person in front.
55. A plate illustrating a gods, including one climbing a pole, with two men underneath etc.
56. More symbolic illustrations. Some showing sacrifice and blood flowing.
57. Another selection of people and symbols. One is a snake, another is two people with drinks in their hands?
58. Another pair of highly coloured and decorative illustrations of chiefs or gods.
59. [As above.]
60. A brightly coloured god, holding a snake in one hand etc.
61. A brightly coloured illustration of a god, full of symbolic meaning.
62. [As above.]
63. Plate depicting illustrations of Indian thinking, belief and culture.
64. [As above.]
65. Magnificent depiction of an Indian god.
66. Temples of skulls and sacrifice.
Sabin. Palau. Pena, 'History of Mexican Literature'.
Hand coloured plates
Culture/Lifestyle, South America
Stock ID