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Encounter with the Plumed Serpent

Drama and Power in the Heart of Mesoamerica

by Gabina Aurora Pérez Jimenez and Maarten Jansen

Hardcover Price $88.00
Ebook Price Open Access

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Mesoamerican Worlds Series

"Although the book is written for a more general audience in a clear and lively manner, the stories are not for the casual reader, for the authors are as attentive in showing the reasoning behind their interpretations as they are in telling good stories."
Bulletin of Latin American History

"This book is a major achievement in the study of the Mixtec codices and a key work for those interested in the history, culture, and religion of the Mixtec peoples. The authors nicely translate the power and poetry of the original Mixtec documents and show that the codices belong in discussions of the world's great sacred texts."
—Arthur A. Joyce, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Colorado at Boulder

"Throughout this account of Mixtec history, readers are provided with careful reconstruction of events, abundant documentation, and considered hypotheses. Summing up: Recommended."

Copy of ku mark RGB large Thanks to the support of libraries working with Knowledge Unlatched, a collaborative initiative designed to make high-quality books open access for the public good, a free electronic version of this title is also available.

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*These editions are published under Creative Commons copyright license CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0. This license does not apply to any material that is separately copyrighted. Please refer to the credit lines and source notations in each book to determine the copyright holders for images and other third-party material.

The Mixtec, or the people of Ñuu Savi ("Nation of the Rain God"), one of the major civilizations of ancient Mesoamerica, made their home in the highlands of Oaxaca, where they resisted both Aztec military expansion and the Spanish conquest. In Encounter with the Plumed Serpent, two leading scholars present and interpret the sacred histories narrated in the Mixtec codices, the largest surviving collection of pre-Columbian manuscripts in existence. In these screenfold books, ancient painter-historians chronicled the politics of the Mixtec from approximately a.d. 900 to 1521, portraying the royal families, rituals, wars, alliances, and ideology of the times.

By analyzing and cross-referencing the codices, which have been fragmented and dispersed in far-flung archives, the authors attempt to reconstruct Mixtec history. Their synthesis here builds on long examination of the ancient manuscripts. Adding useful interpretation and commentary, Jansen and Perez Jimenez synthesize the large body of surviving documents into the first unified narrative of Mixtec sacred history.

Archaeologists and other scholars as well as readers with an interest in Mesoamerican cultures will find this lavishly illustrated volume a compelling and fascinating history and a major step forward in knowledge of the Mixtec.


Gabina Aurora Pérez Jimenez is a professor in the Archaeology Department of Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Maarten Jansen is a professor in the Archaeology Department of Leiden University in the Netherlands and the author of several previous books on individual codices.

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  • Hardcover Price: $88.00
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-87081-868-4
  • Ebook Price: Open Access
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-710-3
  • Publication Year: 2007
  • Pages: 448
  • Illustrations: 2 b&w photographs, 105 line art illustrations
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Gabina Aurora Pérez Jimenez and Maarten Jansen
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87081-868-4
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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