The Mixtec, or the people of Nuu Savi (Nation of the Rain God), one of the major civilizations of ancient Mesoamerica, made their home in the highlands of Oaxaca, where they resisted both Aztec military expansion and the Spanish conquest. In 'Encounter with the Plumed Serpent', two leading scholars present and interpret the sacred histories narrated in the Mixtec codices, the largest surviving collection of pre-Columbian manuscripts in existence. In these screenfold books, ancient painter-historians chronicled the politics of the Mixtec from approximately ad900 to 1521, portraying the royal families, rituals, wars, alliances, and ideology of the times. By analysing and cross-referencing the codices, which have been fragmented and dispersed in far-flung archives, the authors attempt to reconstruct Mixtec history. Their synthesis here builds on long examination of the ancient manuscripts. Adding useful interpretation and commentary, Jansen and Perez Jimenez synthesise the large body of surviving documents into the first unified narrative of Mixtec sacred history.
Gabina Aurora Perez Jimenez is a professor in the Archaeology Department of Leiden University in the Netherlands. Maarten Jansenis a professor in the Archaeology Department of Leiden University in the Netherlands and the author of several previous books on individual codices.