Link to enlarge K6042 (Las Bocas - Ceramic Vessel) THE FOUNDATION RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

History of the Mexicans as Told by Their Paintings
Translated and edited by Henry Phillips Jr.
Read before the American Philosophical Society, October 19, 1883
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society XXI:616-651, 1883.
Edited by Alec Christensen

Table of Contents


Chapter   1
Chapter   2
Chapter   3
Chapter   4
Chapter   5
Chapter   6
Chapter   7
Chapter   8
Chapter   9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23

Notes 1-16
Note 17
Note 18
Notes 19-48
Notes 49-62
CHAPTER 2ND. [p.617]

Of how the World was created and by whom.

When the six hundred years after the birth of the four brethren gods, the sons of Tonacatecli, had passed away, they all four came together, and said that it was good that they should arrange what they had to do, and the law they were to be governed by, and they all committed to Quezalcoatl and Vchilobi, the performance of this task, in pursuance of which they created, under the orders and judgment of the others, the fire, and this being done they made the half-sun, which, on account of not being entire, gave not much but only a slender light. Presently they created a man and a woman; the man they called Vxumuco, and the woman Çipastonal, 8 and to them they gave command that they should till the ground, and that the woman [618] should spin and weave, and that of them should be born the Maçeguales, and that they should find no pleasure, but should always be obliged to work; to the woman the gods gave certain grains of maiz, 9 so that with them she should work cures, and should use divination and witchcraft, and so it is the custom of women to do to this very day. Then they created the days which they divided into months, giving to each month twenty days, of which they had eighteen, and three hundred and sixty days in the year, of which will be spoken subsequently. Then they created Mitlitlatteclet and Michitecaçiglat, husband and wife, and these were the gods of the lower regions (infierno), in which they were placed; then the gods created the heavens below the thirteenth, and then they made the water and created in it a great fish similar to an alligator which they named Çipaqli, and from this fish they made the earth as shall be told; and to create the god and goddess of water, all the four divinities joined themselves together, and made Tlalocatecli, 10 and his wife Chalchiutlique, 11 whom they assigned to be the gods of water, to whom they betook themselves in prayer whenever it was needful. Of this god of water it was said that he had his dwelling of four apartments, in the middle of which was a large courtyard, where stood four large earthen pans full of water. In one of these pans the water was excellent, and from it the rain fell which nourished all manner of corn and seeds and grain, and which ripened things in good season; from the second rained bad water from which fell cobwebs on the crops, and blight and mildew ensued; from another fell ice and sleet; when from the fourth rain fell nothing matured or dried. This god of rain water created many servants, small of body, who were in the rooms of the aforesaid house, and they held money boxes, 12 in which they caught the water from the great earthen pans, and various rods in the other hand; and when the god of water sent them to irrigate any especial places, they started off with their boxes and sticks, and let fall the water where they were directed, and when it thunders the noise is caused by their striking the boxes with their rods, and when it lightens it comes from within these boxes. It is eighty years since Señor de [or "the lord of"] Chalco wished to sacrifice to these servants of the gods of water one of his hunchbacks 13 and took him to the Volcano, a very high mountain always covered with snow, fifteen leagues distant from the City of Mexico, and placed the humpback inside of a cave of which the entrance was closed up, and from lack of food he became drowsy, and was carried to where he could see the aforesaid palace and the manner of life of the deity; sometime later the servants of Señor de Chalco came to look for him to see if he were dead, but finding him living, took him home where he told what he had seen; in this very year the people of Chalco were subdued by the Mexicans, and became enslaved, and it was said that this had been the signal for their loss as it took place. Afterwards all the four gods. being united in work, they created from the fish Cipacuatli 14 the earth, which they called Tlaltecli, 15 and represent as the god of the earth, extended over a fish as having been made of it.


Previous Page  |  Table of Contents  |  Next Page

Return to top of page