Carved bones at the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

Bone shown in the first photo:

This bone shows fine incisions outlined in black, with the image of the god “9 Wind”, the creator of wisdom and the wind. In Mixtec mythology he is the ancestor of the rulers and gives them power and is recognized by his attributes – the cut shell and the conical hat and mouth mask.

The bones in the second photo have been made into musical instruments:

Carved in a human femur is a xylophone, ke'e, and carved in wood is a noise maker, having two parts to strike on to produce sound. The use of these instruments was only done during religious ceremonies and they were typically carving a depiction of mythological scenes and symbols.

Courtesy & currently located at the National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico. Photos taken by Travis S.

High-tech imaging reveals precolonial Mexican manuscript hidden from view for 500 years

OXFORD - Researchers from the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries and from universities in the Netherlands have used high-tech imaging to uncover the details of a rare Mexican codex dating from before the colonization of the Americas. The newly revealed codex, or book, has been hidden from view for almost 500 years, concealed beneath a layer of plaster and chalk on the back of a later manuscript known as the Codex Selden, which is housed at the Bodleian Libraries. Scientists have used hyperspectral imaging to reveal pictographic scenes from this remarkable document and have published their findings in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Ancient Mexican codices are some of the most important artefacts of early Mexican culture and they are particularly rare. Codex Selden, also known as Codex Añute, dates from around 1560 and is one of fewer than 20 known Mexican codices to have survived from pre-colonial and early colonial Mexico. Of those, it is one of only five surviving manuscripts from the Mixtec area, now the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Read more.


Five plates from vol. 3 of Antiquities of Mexico - “fac-similie of an original Mexican painting preserved in the Borgian Museum, at the College of Propaganda in Rome.”

Antiquities of Mexico is a 9 volume folio set produced between 1831 and 1848 which reproduced codices and artwork from Mesoamerica held in European collections. Unfortunately we have not digitized all the text volumes which contain (some) notes on the contents and meanings of the plates so I can provide no additional context for these incredible art works. 

This extraordinary pendant consists of a conch shell section carved in jade, enclosed in a delicate gold frame with tiny dangling bells. This symbol was worn by the deity Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent) a culture hero credited in one myth with creating human life by sprinkling his blood on ground bones. The pectoral may have been worn by a priest, or by a ceremonial impersonator of Quetzalcoatl.,

c. 1200-1519 Mexico, Guerrero, Ichcatiopan,, Mixtec or Aztec style