Book of the Chilam Balam of Chumayel, [between 1775 and 1800].

Uniform title
Manuscript, Book
  • Mayan languages
  • Spanish
1 v. (55 leaves) : paper, ill. ; 20 x 15 cm.


Former owner
Getty AAT genre
[between 1775 and 1800].
Linking notes
Forms part of the Princeton Mesoamerican Collection (C0940).
Summary note
Manuscript, written and illustrated in Chumayel, Yucatán, is a late 18th century copy, cf. Edmondson, Berrera, and Roys. Concerns the history of the conquest of the Yucatán by the Spaniards. Includes the ritual of the four world-quarters; the rise of Hunac Ceel to power; a prophecy for Katun 11-Ahau; the building of the mounds; memoranda concerning the history of Yucatán; notes on the calendar; the amorial bearings of Yucatán; notes on astronomy; the interrogation of the chiefs; the creation of the world; the rituals of the angels; a song of the Itza; the creation of the uinal; a history of the Spanish conquest; the prophecy of Chilam Balam and the story of Antonio Martinez; a chapter of questions and answers; an incantation; a series of Katun-prophecies; chronicles; a book of Katun-prophecies; the last judgment; prophecies of a new religion, cf. Roys. There are inscriptions in Spanish and a native language throughout (1832-1838), including names, places, and dates. For example "Chumayel Junio 28. de 1838 Chilam Balam [por Pedro Bristano].
  • Layout: 1 column, 32 lines.
  • Decoration: 27 leaves of illustration ranging from full-page drawings (in brown ink and red ink wash) to smaller ones on a portion of a textual page.
Binding note
Modern marbled boards; originally bound in leather (deerskin?); in cloth box.
Language note
Text in Yucatec with some Spanish.
Found in the 19th-century in Chumayel, probably by don Adumaro Molina; given to Bishop Crescencio Carrillo y Ancona; the manuscript was expropriated by the government of General Alvarado (from Rivero Figueroa's library) in 1915; became part of the Cepeda Library in Merida and then disappeared; said to have belonged to Julio Berzunza in 1945.
Source acquisition
Acquired in 1968 from the widow of Julio Berzunza by Princeton University Library with the aid of subvention provided by John Hauberg, Princeton Class of 1939.
Publications about
Book of the Chilam Balam of Chumayel / Carl Hermann Berendt. Berendt Linquistics Collections 50. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1868.
  • Cline, H. F. Guide to Ethnohistorical Sources, 1146
  • Weeks, J.M. Mesoamerican Ethnohistory in United States Libraries, 148
Cite as
Princeton Mesoamerican Manuscripts, no. 4, Manuscripts Division, Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
Other format(s)
  • Facsimile reproduction: The Book of the Chilam Balam of Chumayel / with introduction by G.B. Gordon. Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Museum, Anthropological Publications, v. 5, 1913.
  • Published translation: The Chilam Balam of Chumayel / translated by Ralph L. Roys. Washington D.C. : Carnegie Institute of Washington, publication no. 438, 1933.
  • Published translation and transcription: Heaven Born Merida and its Destiny, The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel / translated by Monro S. Edmundson. Austin : University of Texas Press, 1986.
Place name(s)
Mexico Yucatán Chumayel.
  • U chin vucub icil an Canule: Ix jac
Statement on language in description
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