Tira de Tepechpan

Tira de Tepechpan _Page_16.jpg

The arrival of the Spanish in Tepechpan.

Like the Codex Boturini, the Tira de Tepechpan uses the pre-Hispanic accordion-fold format, including twenty different sections that each span 15 to 16 years, depicting the history of the people of the polity of Tepechpan alongside that of Tenochtitlan. The Tira focuses largely on figurative representations of people and happenings, rather than on signs that symbolize place or action. The action happens both above and below the ongoing year count, and there is little interest in background or perspective, so that the figures all seem to be on the same plane. There are accompanying glosses and annotations to identify figures and events, but largely the action is represented pictorially. During the dynastic section of the Tira, events are depicted sparsely, similarly to the Aubin. However, the nature of the events depicted speaks to the relationship between the two polities depicted— during this section, few events are depicted as happening in Tepechpan, but almost none are depicted in Tenochtitlan.[i]

Tira de Tepechpan_Page16_detail

Detail showing the arrival of the Spanish in Tepechpan (above) and in Tenochtitlan (below), page 16.

Four different illuminators worked on the Tira de Tepechpan, and this contributes to somewhat inconsistent modes of representation. For example, while most events are depicted through pictorial representations of figures carrying out actions, one painter uses symbols to show the Spanish conquest.

Seen on page 16, above the year-count are a cross and dove, two symbols of Christianity, representing a peaceful arrival of Christianity in Tepechpan. This depiction is a contrast to the depiction of Spanish conquest in Tenochtitlan, seen directly below the year-count, which was far from peaceful, and is depicted once again through pictorial representation, showing a smoking temple and the figure of Hernan Cortes (identifiable through his beard, pale skin, and spear) to tell the story of the more violent conquest.[ii]




[i] Lori Boornazian Diel, The Tira de Tepechpan: Negotiating Place under Aztec and Spanish Rule (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008), 51.

[ii] Ibid, 73.