Codex Mendoza is one of the most thoroughly studied Mesoamerican pictorial manuscripts. For centuries Western scholars relied on its contents, both pictorial and textual, to reconstruct aspects of Mexica history, economy, daily life, and logophonetic writing, to the extent that the manuscript came to be known as the Rosetta Stone for the decipherment of the Nahuatl writing system.1 At least since the twentieth century, Western fascination with this iconic document also depended on its presumed historical association with specific individuals: according to past scholarly interpretations, it was commissioned by Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, painted by the Nahua tlacuilo (painter-scribe) Francisco Gualpuyogualcal, and alphabetically annotated by a mysterious individual variously identified...

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