The Conquest of Jaltepec; or, the History of AÃ±ute
FIGURE 22. The place sign for Jaltepec (Añute) on folio 12r of the Matrícula de Tributos.
FIGURE 23. The place sign for Añute (Jaltepec) on page 6 of the Codex Selden.
Another example of how different documents represent different geographic visions can be seen by comparing the Matrícula with one of the Ã’udzavui documents in Mesolore’s Archive: the Codex Selden. In 1493, the Aztec emperor Ahuitzotl began a campaign of military expansion in what is now the Mexican state of Oaxaca. One of the places he conquered was the town of AÃ±ute in the Dzini Ãƒ’udzavui (Mixteca Alta). AÃ±ute was then incorporated into the tribute province of Coixtlahuaca. AÃ±ute means “Place of Sand” in Dzaha Dzavui (Mixtec), and so the name given to the town by the conquering Aztecs was Jaltepec (“Hill of Sand“Â in Nahuatl). This place sign appears at the bottom of folio 12r of the MatríÂcula, which shows the tribute demanded from the province of Coixtlahuaca (Figure 22).
Around 1560—some sixty years after the incorporation of AÃ±ute into the Aztec empire, and some forty years after the Europeans first came to the area—the nobles of AÃ±ute created a screenfold book about their town’s royal history. Today this document is called the Codex Selden. Its twenty pages present a complex genealogy of the kings and queens of AÃ±ute, illustrating their heroic deeds. The place sign of Jaltepec appears a number of times in this document, represented by a hill, a frieze wreathed in white clouds, and a mouth with dotted sand coming out of it (Figure 23).
From the point of view of the Matrícula de Tributos, Jaltepec (AÃ±ute) was just one of many towns incorporated into the Aztec empire. In contrast, from the point of view of the Codex Selden, AÃ±ute (Jaltepec) was the center of the world. The MatríÂcula devotes only one detail of one page to this place, but the Codex Selden tells the history of this kingdom through hundreds of images spanning twenty pages. Significantly, these twenty pages never mention the Aztec conquest in the 1490s, nor the arrival of the Europeans in the 1520s.
In Forget Colonialism? Sacrifice and the Art of Memory in Madagascar, Jennifer Cole argues that local historical traditions can play an important role in shaping what is remembered about the past. In some cases, the deeds of outsiders may not be seen as important, not worthy of historical commentary or remembrance. Indeed, the actions of outsiders may be intentionally ignored and actively forgotten. Cole’s work focuses on Madagascar in the 1980s and 1990s, but her ideas may help explain why foreign conquests are not included in the history recorded in the Codex Selden. The Codex Selden is focused on the deeds of Ã’udzavui kings and queens, and so the actions of outsiders may not have been viewed as important, or worthy of representation. In contrast, the pages of the Matrícula are only interested in conquest and tribute, and so have no place for including the perspectives of conquered peoples. In the case of the AÃ±ute, elaborate local histories are suppressed. In addition—as discussed further in the “Introduction to the Codex Selden“Â tutorial—the history of AÃ±ute in the Codex Selden may have been created to serve as legal evidence in a European courtroom. Its artists may have ignored the arrival of the Europeans and the impact of European colonialism in order to make their document look more authentic, more ancient.33
By comparing the MatríÂcula de Tributos, the Mapa of Misquiahuala, and the Codex Selden, we can see how different documents, although dealing with overlapping places, depict those places in different ways. The same place, the same landscape, can appear very different in different representations, depending on who created those representations, and why.
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33 Dana Leibsohn has recently argued that this kind of ‘strategic visual archaism’ was also used by the arists of the Historia Tolteca Chichimeca (Leibsohn 2009: 148).