Posted by: ayac | October 12, 2014

The baptismal font of Zinacantepec

In the Museo Virreinal of Zinacantepec, which used to be a Franciscan convent, there’s a 16th century stone baptismal font with indigenous-style art and an inscription in Nahuatl. (There’s also apparently a reproduction in the Museo de Bellas Artes in Toluca.)

As far as I know there aren’t a lot of Nahuatl inscriptions in stone, and there’s certainly not much information about them online, so I though it’d be worth taking note of it here.

The inscription, based on this article and comparing with the available photos, seems to be:

†IHS M YNIN PILA TEQVATEQVILIZTLI YVAN TEQVATEQVILILOYAN OMOCHIVH YTECOPATZINCO CENCA MAVIZTILILONI GUADIAN FRAY MARTIN DE AGUIRE IPAN ALTEPE TZINACANTEPEC YPA XIVIL

†Jesus Maria. This font baptism [sic] and baptizing place was made by order of the very reverend guardian fray Martín de Aguirre in the altepetl of Tzinacantepec in the year [1581].

The year 1581 is written below the main inscription. The original has no spaces, except possibly between XIVIL and †IHS. The H in IHS has a cross incorporated into it that I can’t represent in Unicode.

Pila tequatequiliztli I guess must be a weird attempt to translate “pila bautismal”, but you can’t modify nouns with other nouns like that in Nahuatl. Tequatequililoyan should just be tequatequiloyan, though I can’t find a clear photo of that part so maybe it doesn’t actually say that.

I don’t know anything about epigraphy but the slanted Y and the crossed M stand out to me.

There are four scenes around the sides enclosed in circles:

The indigenous-style stuff is between the circles.

Photos:

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