Chapter 2 Divination, Ceremony, and Structure in the Codex Laud

In: Visual Culture and Indigenous Agency in the Early Americas

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Abstract

The ancient Mesoamerican manuscripts generally known as “Borgia Group” share a religious content matter, understood to be primarily divinatory in nature since the work of Nowotny. According to this view, images in the Borgia Group manuscripts are emblematic susceptible to different readings when consulted at every new occasion. Nowotny himself recognized, however, that a few sections do not follow a strict divinatory partition based on the 260-day calendar, but rather describe ceremonial actions, taking on a narrative and discursive character generally absent from the mantic sections. This article focuses on how divination overlaps with ritual and ceremony in Codex Laud, a manuscript that presents the greatest number of sections without any clear parallel in other codices. By focusing on Laud’s unique structure, iconography, and calendrics my analysis attempts to shed some light on its internal logic.