00145057

00145057_AN

 

ID 00145057
Title Map of Tenochtitlan and the Gulf of Mexico from Cortés’ Second Letter
Introduction Map of Tenochtitlan from Cortés’ Second Letter, 1524. The Edward E. Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, USA.

The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was an island city and it appears here ringed by neighboring cities in the Valley of Mexico. Like many European maps of the time, this map uses a conventional rendering of buildings—many of them appearing as turreted castles—to signify towns. This map accompanied the first Latin edition of Hernán Cortés’ Second Letter, in which the conquistador describes the beauties of the city and his encounter with the Aztec emperor, Moteuczoma.

Patronage/Artist This image was made in the city of Nuremberg (Germany), where Cortés’ letter–which accompanied this map—was first published. The name of the map-maker is not known, but details within the map suggest the image was based on an Aztec image of the city, sent back to Europe along with other plundered objects.
Material/Technique This map of the city was carved into a block of hard wood and then printed on a large sheet of paper.  Thus, many copies exist.  This copy was carefully hand colored with washes of pigment, although not all copies were elaborated this way.
Context/Collection History The original work that inspired this woodcut is lost, as is the woodcut plate itself. Dozens of copies of the 1524 publication survive.  Not all of them have this map folded inside; it may have been included for an additional fee to buyers.

Throughout the 16th century, this map was copied and reworked by at least six other publishers, making it the authoritative European vision of the city.

Cultural Interpretation This is the earliest picture of the Aztec city to be published in Europe.  The map captures what would immediately fascinate foreigners about the Aztecs: their extraordinary urban fabric, as well as their bloody sacrificial rites. This awe soon faded, and by the late 16th century, the Aztecs were remembered by Europeans primarily as bloodthirsty barbarians.
Iconography This portion of the map represents the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States, including Florida.

This area represents the temple precinct of Tenochtitlan. The twin temples were dedicated to the pre-Hispanic deities Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. After the conquest, the temples were razed to build the main cathedral when Tenochtitlan was rebuilt as Mexico City.

This portion of the map represents the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States, including Florida.

The label here, “Dom[us] a[n]ialui[m],” refers to the royal zoo. 

One of four causeways that link the island city to the mainland.

This text, which says “capita sacrificatoru[m]” refers to a rack where the skulls of Aztec sacrificial victims were arranged. 

Bibliography Massing, Jean Michel. 1992. “Map of Tenochtitlán and the Gulf of Mexico.” Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration, p. 572-3. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art.

Mundy, Barbara. 1998. “Mapping the Aztec Capital: The 1524 Nuremberg map of Tenochtitlan, Its Sources and Meanings.” Imago Mundi, vol. 50, pp. 1-22.

 

 

 
   

00145057

00145057_AN

 

ID 00145057
Title Map of Tenochtitlan and the Gulf of Mexico from Cortés’ Second Letter
Introduction Map of Tenochtitlan from Cortés’ Second Letter, 1524. The Edward E. Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, USA.

The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was an island city and it appears here ringed by neighboring cities in the Valley of Mexico. Like many European maps of the time, this map uses a conventional rendering of buildings—many of them appearing as turreted castles—to signify towns. This map accompanied the first Latin edition of Hernán Cortés’ Second Letter, in which the conquistador describes the beauties of the city and his encounter with the Aztec emperor, Moteuczoma.

Patronage/Artist This image was made in the city of Nuremberg (Germany), where Cortés’ letter–which accompanied this map—was first published. The name of the map-maker is not known, but details within the map suggest the image was based on an Aztec image of the city, sent back to Europe along with other plundered objects.
Material/Technique This map of the city was carved into a block of hard wood and then printed on a large sheet of paper.  Thus, many copies exist.  This copy was carefully hand colored with washes of pigment, although not all copies were elaborated this way.
Context/Collection History The original work that inspired this woodcut is lost, as is the woodcut plate itself. Dozens of copies of the 1524 publication survive.  Not all of them have this map folded inside; it may have been included for an additional fee to buyers.

Throughout the 16th century, this map was copied and reworked by at least six other publishers, making it the authoritative European vision of the city.

Cultural Interpretation This is the earliest picture of the Aztec city to be published in Europe.  The map captures what would immediately fascinate foreigners about the Aztecs: their extraordinary urban fabric, as well as their bloody sacrificial rites. This awe soon faded, and by the late 16th century, the Aztecs were remembered by Europeans primarily as bloodthirsty barbarians.
Iconography This portion of the map represents the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States, including Florida.

This area represents the temple precinct of Tenochtitlan. The twin temples were dedicated to the pre-Hispanic deities Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. After the conquest, the temples were razed to build the main cathedral when Tenochtitlan was rebuilt as Mexico City.

This portion of the map represents the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States, including Florida.

The label here, “Dom[us] a[n]ialui[m],” refers to the royal zoo. 

One of four causeways that link the island city to the mainland.

This text, which says “capita sacrificatoru[m]” refers to a rack where the skulls of Aztec sacrificial victims were arranged. 

Bibliography Massing, Jean Michel. 1992. “Map of Tenochtitlán and the Gulf of Mexico.” Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration, p. 572-3. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art.

Mundy, Barbara. 1998. “Mapping the Aztec Capital: The 1524 Nuremberg map of Tenochtitlan, Its Sources and Meanings.” Imago Mundi, vol. 50, pp. 1-22.

 

 

   

00145057

00145057_AN

 

ID 00145057
Title Map of Tenochtitlan and the Gulf of Mexico from Cortés’ Second Letter
Introduction Map of Tenochtitlan from Cortés’ Second Letter, 1524. The Edward E. Ayer Collection, Newberry Library, Chicago, USA.

The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was an island city and it appears here ringed by neighboring cities in the Valley of Mexico. Like many European maps of the time, this map uses a conventional rendering of buildings—many of them appearing as turreted castles—to signify towns. This map accompanied the first Latin edition of Hernán Cortés’ Second Letter, in which the conquistador describes the beauties of the city and his encounter with the Aztec emperor, Moteuczoma.

Patronage/Artist This image was made in the city of Nuremberg (Germany), where Cortés’ letter–which accompanied this map—was first published. The name of the map-maker is not known, but details within the map suggest the image was based on an Aztec image of the city, sent back to Europe along with other plundered objects.
Material/Technique This map of the city was carved into a block of hard wood and then printed on a large sheet of paper.  Thus, many copies exist.  This copy was carefully hand colored with washes of pigment, although not all copies were elaborated this way.
Context/Collection History The original work that inspired this woodcut is lost, as is the woodcut plate itself. Dozens of copies of the 1524 publication survive.  Not all of them have this map folded inside; it may have been included for an additional fee to buyers.

Throughout the 16th century, this map was copied and reworked by at least six other publishers, making it the authoritative European vision of the city.

Cultural Interpretation This is the earliest picture of the Aztec city to be published in Europe.  The map captures what would immediately fascinate foreigners about the Aztecs: their extraordinary urban fabric, as well as their bloody sacrificial rites. This awe soon faded, and by the late 16th century, the Aztecs were remembered by Europeans primarily as bloodthirsty barbarians.
Iconography This portion of the map represents the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States, including Florida.

This area represents the temple precinct of Tenochtitlan. The twin temples were dedicated to the pre-Hispanic deities Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli. After the conquest, the temples were razed to build the main cathedral when Tenochtitlan was rebuilt as Mexico City.

This portion of the map represents the Gulf Coast and southeastern United States, including Florida.

The label here, “Dom[us] a[n]ialui[m],” refers to the royal zoo. 

One of four causeways that link the island city to the mainland.

This text, which says “capita sacrificatoru[m]” refers to a rack where the skulls of Aztec sacrificial victims were arranged. 

Bibliography Massing, Jean Michel. 1992. “Map of Tenochtitlán and the Gulf of Mexico.” Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration, p. 572-3. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art.

Mundy, Barbara. 1998. “Mapping the Aztec Capital: The 1524 Nuremberg map of Tenochtitlan, Its Sources and Meanings.” Imago Mundi, vol. 50, pp. 1-22.