publication . Doctoral thesis . 2015

Maize, Quetzalcoatl, and Grass Imagery: Science in the Central Mexican Codex Borgia

Ellis, Helen;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Jan 2015
  • Publisher: eScholarship, University of California
  • Country: United States
Before the Spanish-led defeat of the Aztecs in 1521, manuscripts were ubiquitous in Mesoamerica. Regrettably very few survive. One of them is the Aztec (Eastern Nahua) Codex Borgia painted in the Late Postclassic period (ca. 1250–1521 CE). Many of its 76 pages include maize imagery in polychrome. The plant appears amid gods of fertility hovering above naked females; associated with Quetzalcoatl, the god of wind; and rendered to look strikingly similar to grass. The questions I address in this dissertation relate to the significance of maize, Quetzalcoatl, and grass depictions. What does maize imagery convey? Why did the Nahua venerate a god of wind? How is maize...
free text keywords: Art history, Botany, Science history, Codex Borgia, indigenous people, Maize, Quetzalcoatl, Teosinte
Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
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