The Boturini Codex

The Boturini Codex is an anonymously-created Aztec codex that was made between 1530 and 1541. Its second name is “Tira de la Peregrinacion” which means “The Pilgrimage Strip” and tells the story of a pilgrimage and the events during. A major detail of Boturini Codex is that it is unfinished and ends abruptly on the twenty-second page. Mesoamerican scholars believe that the author of this codex was unable to finish due to unforeseen circumstances. It is named after one of its first owners, Lorenzo Boturini Bernaducci.

The key story told within the papers of the Boturini Codex is that of the Mexica, also known as Aztecs, and their two-hundred-year odyssey from the island of Atzlán to the Valley of Mexico and their loss against the King Coxcoxtli, who was the king of the city-state Culhuacán sometime in the late 13th Century and the early 14th Century. This story is significant to Aztec history because the end result is the establishment of the great city of Tenochtitlan, which would become the largest settlement in the world over the next few centuries.

The manuscript consists of 22 pages and is believed by scholars to be unfinished by the author. It is drawn on strips of fig bark paper or “amatl” and measures in at 19 cm tall and 549 cm long. It is notable that this is one of the only Aztec codices that is entirely drawn in black ink, featuring no color besides the red tinted ink used to describe different dates. These dates are stylized as columns as seen towards the end of the manuscript.

In September of 2015, it became a part of the digital archive of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). According to a report done by Mexico News Network, the digital edition is “designed to offer the public an unprecedented approach to one of the founding documents of the history of Mexico. The (online) application of the Pilgrimage Strip is an interactive tool that can be downloaded to an iPad or iPhone and has been developed with a facsimile (copy) edition in papel amate using pre-Hispanic techniques.” These organic replicas are being made to preserve the original for as long as possible.

The codex has resided in Mexico City at the Museo Nacional de Antropología since 1871.