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Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
(MEXICAN MANUSCRIPTS.) Collection of 10 wills and testaments in the Nahuatl language. 10 manuscript documents on 16 loose sheets, each 12 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches or smaller; moderate wear, some stabilized with early conservation; housed in a contemporary limp calf portfolio. Vp, 1696-1726
A collection of 10 Nahuatl wills and testaments from small villages in and around what is now Ozumba in the Valley of Mexico. It includes testaments from both men and women, as well as from commoners and the relatively well-to-do; one was written by a Nahua elite who was of sufficiently high status to bear the title don, don Félix de San Juan, from San Vicente Chimalhuacan. Each begins with long expressions of faith in Catholic saints and the Virgin Mary. Some of the wills from San Vicente Chimalhuacan express a desire to be buried in front of the Virgin of the Rosary, which is still revered in the town to this day. In her will and testament from 1717, María Rosa lists several Marian titles which she honors and which she wants her surviving family to continue to revere, including the Virgin of Guadalupe. The bequests also show a strong Spanish influence. Antonio Martín of Santiago Mamahualzuca had taken to raising and selling pigs (introduced by Spaniards) to such a degree that much of what he bequeathed consisted of pigs. The testators frequently also bequeathed money, much of it to be used for the settling of debts. The said Martín, for example, declared that his uncle Francisco, to whom he owed money, was to be given 1 peso, "something I owed him, so he can buy a pig." Overall, Nahua society, as can be observed in these testaments, adopted much from Spanish culture without being completely overwhelmed. "Wills in Nahuatl have been a rich source of information on local-level processes from an indigenous perspective. They continue to inform our understanding of the impact of the Spanish presence on Indian communities" --Cline, The Testaments of Culhuacán.
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