Anonymous: Codex Borgia, page 71 - the sun, moon and 13 birds (13th-15th century)

(Vatican Library, Rome, Vatican City)


Another page from the 'Codex Borgia', a ritual and divinatory manuscript from Mesoamerica. This page shows the sun, the moon and 13 birds. In the large central panel on the left side you can see the sun god Tonatiuh. Under the sun god is the name '4-movement'. In the mesoamerican creation myths there were multiple suns, where each sun had its own cosmic era. Tonatiuh is the fifth sun who took over when the fourth sun was expelled. The name '4-movement' is the name of the era of the fifth sun (this is the era in which we live now). Opposite of the sun god is a skeletal-jawed animal which is offering a quail to the sun god - the animal has decapitated the quail and a stream of blood is flowing from the bird to the mouth of te sun god, feeding him. Beneath the skeletal-jawed animal are the jaws of the earth monster (the personification of the earth itself) with the head of the quail. Above the scene is the rabbit in the moon - symbol of the moon itself, and a dark and starry sky. Next to the moon you can see a dot connected to a symbol - this is '1-reed' (Ce Acatl), the calendar name of the god Quetzalcóatl. Surrounding the entire central panel are 13 smaller panels which contain 12 birds and 1 butterfly (number 7, the middle one on the right) and a number of dots. Each dot is a 1 so four dots is the number 4, six dots is the number 6 etc. These birds and butterfly represent the 13 levels of creation above the plane of the earth. Page from the 13th-15th century.

See also these links to other pages from the codex Borgia:

- page 14: The 9 Lords of the Night
- page 25: the five cardinal directions
- page 56: The gods of Life and Death and the 260-day ritual calendar



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