Nahuatl Sermons and the play "Holy Wednesday" : manuscript, [1590].

Manuscript, Book
Mayan languages
1 v. (215 leaves) : paper ; 22 x 15 cm.


Former owner
Rare books genre
Getty AAT genre
Linking notes
Forms part of the Princeton Mesoamerican Collection (C0940).
Summary note
Manuscript notebook comprised chiefly of one or more cycles of Spanish sermons and sermon notes, referenced by feast day and accompanied by Scriptural readings in Latin; as well as brief extracts from other devotional texts and other notes in Spanish--for example, concerning medicinal recipes (fol. 218v) and a contemporary inscription mentioning two Spanish officials "juan diaz de aguero procurador general de los yndios y licenciado gaspar de valdes labrador de los yndios" (fol. 220v). Written down and corrected in an unruled bound book over a period of years, probably in the 1590s by a Franciscan friar working in or near Tlatelolco and Puebla (specifically Tecali, Huexotzingo, and Tlaxcala), New Spain. The contents are partially indexed (fols. 1r-2v). Of particular interest are two Nahuatl texts written in another hand: (1) sermons in Nahuatl and Latin (fols. 44r-54v), the first of which is described in the manuscript as having been given in "Sanctiago delante" by several priests, principally the Franciscan Fray Gerónimo de Mendieta (1525-1604), who was at Tlatelolco in the 1590s; and (2) a Nahuatl version of Ausías Izquierdo Zebrero's Spanish religious drama concerning Holy Wednesday, with related texts (fols. 201r-215v).
Binding note
Original limp vellum with end ties.
Language note
Text in Nahuatl, Spanish, and Latin.
Early ownership of the manuscripts is indicated by upper fore-edge brands for the Colegio Imperial de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco, at the Franciscan church and friary in Tlatelolco; and in the 18th century was in the Convento de San Pedro y San Pablo de Santiago Calimaya, also in greater Mexico City. The manuscript was acquired by Agustn̕ Fischer (1825-87) and was item 1933 in his library before being sold by the London auctioneers Puttick & Simpson in 1869 to Sir Thomas Phillipps through his agent, a "Mr. Cole." It is described as "Sermons in Spanish & Mexican" in Philipps' Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum in Bibliotheca D. Thomae Phillipps, Bart., A.D. 1837 (Middle Hill: Sir Thomas Phillipps, 1837), p. 394, no. 21298. The Phillipps' number is written in the manuscript on the inside front cover and on fol. 2r. The manuscript was sold twice at Sotheby's (London)--first in 1919 to Sir R. Leiester Harmsworth and again in 1948 to Florencio Gavito, viscount of Alborada and Villarubio (1882-1960), whose bookplate is found in the inside front cover. Old shelf numbers "198' and "219" are on the spine.
Source acquisition
Gift of Mrs. Charles W. Engelhard (WA 1993:261), acquired from the Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts Company and the William Reese Company, ca. 1987.
Publications about
  • Louise M. Burkhart. "A Nahuatl Religious Drama from Sixteenth-Century Mexico." Princeton University Library Chronicle 53, no. 3 (1991-92). pp. 264-86.
  • Louise M. Burkhart. "Holy Wednesday: A Nahua Drama from Early Colonial Mexico." (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996)
Cite as
Princeton Mesoamerican Manuscripts, no. 10, Manuscripts Division, Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
Place name(s)
Mexico Tlatelolco.
Statement on language in description
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