General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 18 Jun 2018/7 Snake
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Codex Tepotzotlan 1

IN THE NEWS: gender pay gap

The Codex Tepotzotlan is a two-part 16th century manuscript prepared by the indigenous leaders of three towns assigned by the Spanish Crown and close to Tepotzotlan, north of Tenochtitlan. In the 1550s the three communities complained to the Real Audiencia of the excessive tribute demands being placed on them by Tepotzotlan. Unluckily for them, the case was judged by Francisco Maldonado, a noble from Chiconautla, who aligned himself with his fellow aristocrats and ruled against them... (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Pic 1: The glyph for Miccacalco, Codex Tepotzotlan I (detail)
Pic 1: The glyph for Miccacalco, Codex Tepotzotlan I (detail) (Click on image to enlarge)

Drawn on amate fig tree bark paper, the ‘Codex Tepotzotlan I’ is now on display in the Ulster Museum, Belfast (it was gifted there in 1833); its twin, ‘Codex Tepotzotlan II’ (on European paper) is held by the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City. The three towns in question are Xoloc (San Mateo), Cuauhtlapan (Santiago) and Tepoxaco (San Francisco). The first half of Codex T1 (main picture) shows the wards of Xoloc town, the second of which - indicated, reading L to R - is Miccacalco, the charnel house (where human skeletal remains are stored - note the little mummy bundle at the front of the temple glyph, pic 1).

Pic 2: List of tribute to Tepotzotlan, showing labour remuneration (R); Codex Tepotzotlan I (detail: Miccacalco ward)
Pic 2: List of tribute to Tepotzotlan, showing labour remuneration (R); Codex Tepotzotlan I (detail: Miccacalco ward) (Click on image to enlarge)

We’ve turned the page round (pic 2) so it’s easier to read the list of tribute items paid by Miccacalco to Tepotzotlan (reading L to R):-
• baskets of maize, turkeys
• cacao bean payments
• chilli peppers
• eggs, tortillas, saltcakes, firewood
• pottery
• woven petate reed mats
• further tortillas and turkeys
• hogs or peccaries
• Finally, we see the remuneration (or lack of it) given daily to men and women of the community: 400 men (‘400’ is indicated by the plume over the man’s head) each receive daily 80 cacao beans (arrowed, bottom right) as load carriers (each tiny flag indicates ‘20’); the 10 (half of a ‘20’-flag or banner) women receive no payment at all for their grinding away all day on the large stone quern or metate (arrowed, top right).

Source of info and images: Painted Books from Mexico by Gordon Brotherston (British Museum Press, 1995); with additional info from Elizabeth Baquedano. Graphics added by Mexicolore.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Apr 16th 2018

emoticon Talk about paying tribute to women’s labour!

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