“Ixtepeji Scroll” Powerpoint (accompanies the audio recording but is not synced to the audio)
Michel Oudijk and Sebastián van Doesburg, both of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, presented the 2014 Arthur Holzheimer “Maps and America” lecture on April 10, 2014 in the American Geographical Society Library on the Tira de Santa Catarina Ixtepeji—a colonial-era Mexican document so rare that until two years ago experts had only hints of its existence.
The tira (Spanish for strip of paper or [comic] strip), dated 1691, had been acquired by the American Geographical Society of New York around 1917 and its importance in Zapotec history was recently rediscovered after examination by a Marquette history professor.
Approximately 7 feet long and 20 inches wide, the document features hand-painted images and text in Spanish and the indigenous Zapotec language, and functioned as a kind of deed, as well as a genealogy of the village of Santa Catarina Ixtepeji in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico.
Oudijk and van Doesburg are scholars of the Zapotec language, and they had been searching for years for the tira, known to them only through academic reports and an old photograph of the corner of the document.
Since the tira’s re-emergence, both men have traveled to Milwaukee to research it in depth. At their talk, they will present their findings and place the document in the context of colonial Mexico.
Image: Michel Oudijk (left) and Sebastián van Doesburg examine the tira during a research visit in June 2013. Photo by Kay Guildner.