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Introduction To Mixtec Pictography

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Chapter Summary

Today we use the term 'Mesoamerica' for the millenarian, original and sophisticated cultural tradition that has developed in the huge region that stretches from the northern deserts of Mexico to the tropical mountain ranges of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. In this chapter the authors use the 'classic Mixtec' (Dzaha Dzaui) of 16th century Yucu Ndaa (Tepozcolula) as standard, referring to terms and expressions in the vocabulary of Friar Francisco de Alvarado, but including explicit or implicit comparisons with cognates in contemporary variants, especially the living dialectal variant of Ñuu Ndeya (Chalcatongo) in the south-western Mixteca Alta (Sahin Sau). The surviving Mixtec pictorial manuscripts were painted in the Postclassic Era and the early colonial period. Although pictography communicates information directly through the painted images, its interpretation does have an important linguistic component.

Keywords: Ñuu Ndeya; Costa Rica; Dzaha Dzaui; Friar Francisco de Alvarado; Mesoamerica; Mexico; Mixtec pictorial manuscripts; Nicaragua; south-western Mixteca Alta; Yucu Ndaa



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