Founding of Tenochtitlan


The founding image of Tenochtitlan: the symbolic eagle eating a snake upon a nopal cactus, fol 25v.

Codex Aubin_Fol.25v-26r.jpg

The founding image of Tenochtitlan, accomapanied by the following Nahuatl gloss and image of a temple, fols. 25v-26r.

Dense sections of text seem to close out the migration period of the text, preceding the pictorial representation of the founding of Tenochtitlan— the image of the founding would be widely recognizable, and is another occasion where myth merges with history, showing the supernatural guidance of the migrating Mexica to the swampy place where an eagle, perched upon a cactus, has caught a snake, which is the classic depiction for Tenochtitlan (fol 25 v).

The symbolic image of the eagle on the cactus is surrounded by a more representational description of the simple beginnings of the city, showing a thatched cottage or hut on each side of the page, with grasses in the background. One Mexica figure in the front is perhaps fishing, as is described in the gloss on the following page. This image uses fewer symbols than other manuscripts and even other pages within the Aubin, setting up a likely image of the foundation rather than a stylized or heavily architectural one, continuing the tone of simple imagery.

The Aubin's sparse style sets it apart from other manuscripts. Other images of the founding of Tenochtitlan exemplify the differences seen between the Aubin and other related materials.