Posted by: ayac | October 4, 2014

Ce Iztlacaamoxtli

Bernardino de Sahagún is an important figure of early colonial Mexico, who was responsible for the production of many manuscripts in Nahuatl and about indigenous culture. But only one of his works was published in his lifetime: the Psalmodia christiana (1583), a collection of Christian songs in indigenous style intended to replace pagan songs (like those of the Cantares mexicanos manuscript) while maintaining the same social function. Few copies exist today, in part because Francisco de la Rosa Figueroa apparently had many copies destroyed in the 18th century.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto seem to think they have a copy in their archives, which has been scanned and uploaded to the Internet Archive. It has “Salmodia del P. Sahagun” on the cover:

It has Psalmodia christiana’s title page:

It even has an insert in the back that says “ONE OF SIX COPIES LOCATED”:

But the text is not that that of the Psalmodia christiana. Here’s what the Psalmodia is supposed to look like on the left, and the Toronto copy on the right:

That’s not the first page of Sahagún’s Psalmodia christiana, that’s the first page of Juan de Mijangos’s Sermonario dominical y sanctoral (1624).

Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe someone accidentally attached the title page of one Nahuatl book to the body of another. Someone who can’t read Nahuatl probably would have trouble telling one text from another.

But the Sermonario is over 600 pages, and this only has the first 50 numbered pages. After that there’s two unnumbered leaves taken from the end of the preface, which is supposed to end with Onitlacuilo, nican Mexico Tenochtitlan in nehuatl, ynamoteopixcauh. Fr. Iuan de Mijangos. “Written here in Mexico Tenochtitlan by me, your priest. Fray Juan de Mijangos.” Here’s what it looks like in an intact copy:

But the Toronto copy appears to have the author’s name scratched out:

I wonder how something like that could happen?


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