From 9 to 10 January 2023 Justyna Kowalczyk-Kądziela and Katarzyna Mikulska visited the British Museum in London, as part of the Subproject 1 on Mixtec visual narrative. They examined an original Mixtec codex Nuttall (Am1902,0308.1).
The codex is a pre-Hispanic manuscript kept at the British Museum since the beginning of the 20th century. It has been painted on both sides of a specially prepared deer hide in the form of a screenfold.
The examination was aimed at answering the question of how the processes of sketching, painting, and repainting affects the narrative structure of the text, with a particular focus on the red guidelines that determine the reading order of the scenes. Additionally, Katarzyna and Justyna were intrigued by the crafting techniques such as folds, bindings, differences in the application of the paint layers, and strategies for corrections and repaints.
To improve the accuracy of their observations, they were equipped not only with magnifying glasses, but also with a digital microscope.
Aside from collecting important data, the visit provided an opportunity to hold a meeting with Dr Danny Zborover, curator and head of Americas Section at the British Museum and with Dr Joanne Dyer from the Department of Scientific Research. Justyna and Katarzyna are also in contact with Dr Davide Domenici from the University of Bologna, who coordinates ongoing codicological research on the manuscript, and who invited them to discuss the possibility of establishing a collaboration toward the dissemination of research results.
We are grateful to the Museum staff for their support and an excellent cooperation during our visit.