The Codex Mendoza


The manuscript is a pictorial book made for Antonio de Mendoza, the first viceroy of New Spain. Mendoza most likely received this manuscript in the early 1540s. This is one page out of 71 that depict the history of the Aztec people. Split into three sections, the first covers the history of the Aztecs. The second section is a pictorial representation of the tributes paid by all the towns in the empire to the last emperor Montezuma II. The third section depicts Aztec lifestyles from birth to death, for males and females. A manuscript made of European paper and format in the Mexican region in the early 1540s. The artwork is done by an unknown Mexican painter. This piece is historically important because it represents an effort by the Spanish to understand the culture of the Aztecs. The Aztec culture remained a major influence over the Native cultures.


early 1540s. The ‘Codex Mendoza’, pt. I., Folio #: fol. 016r. Manuscript. Place: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford,

Current Location: Manuscripts and Early Printed Books (Bodleian Library, Oxford University)

Bishops Miter

  • Bishops Miter is of a similar head wear for a Catholic Bishop in the region
  • Made of matereia commony found in area such as bird feathers


A miter that would have been worn by a bishop in the New Spain region. There is not a specific region labeled but would align with what Catholic bishops wore at the time. The Conquistadors and their men from Spain practiced the Roman Catholic religion. In addition to their efforts to find gold and other riches in the new world, many men saw this as an opportunity to convert members of the local tribes to Christianity. As the miter suggests, many of the Natives converted to Catholicism. This is made evident by the materials used for the headwear. The mix of feathers and other materials indicates that the miter is Catholic in nature but takes elements from Native religions as well. Many of the Natives did convert to Catholicism, either by choice or by force.


Mexican, Mexican. 16c. Bishop’s Miter, back view. Textiles.

Current Location: Modern Latin American Art (Jacqueline Barnitz, Art and Art History Department, University of Texas, Austin)