Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/324

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TRAVELS IN MEXICO.

quarried in Coyoacan, and was brought to the city with attendant feasts, and songs, and dancing, in the year 1479, during the reign of the great and bloody Axayacatl. Its face is eleven feet eight inches in diameter, and the whole mass is said to weigh twenty-six tons.

As to the picture-writing, some specimens of it are preserved here, though the best examples are to be found scattered abroad in some of the libraries of Europe. TLM D324 The cave period.jpgTHE CAVE PERIOD.
(Aztec Picture-writing.)
Both pictorial and symbolic in its character, the Aztec manuscript was prepared from, and its characters written on, either deer-skin or maguey paper. One is mentioned over sixty feet long, a narrow strip, folded after the manner of a book, with wooden slips at the extremities, which formed the covers when closed.

Although the best and most valuable Aztec manuscripts, or picture-paintings, were destroyed by Zumarraga, first Bishop of Mexico, some remained, and others—as soon as the Spaniards became sensible of their error—were produced by learned Indians, by order of the Viceroy. We know that the Mexicans were very apt at depicting scenes and representing occurrences, and that the landing of the Spaniards, in 1519, with all its attendant circumstances, was transmitted to Montezuma by his skilful painters before the bustle of that event had subsided.

In the great book by Lord Kingsborough we may find the various "Codices" produced in fac-simile, with all the bright colors of the originals. I have in my possession a lithographed chart in black and white, of some five metres in length, pre-