JAIC 1990, Volume 29, Number 2, Article 1 (pp. 97 to 115)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1990, Volume 29, Number 2, Article 1 (pp. 97 to 115)

THE EXAMINATION AND CONSERVATION TREATMENT OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HARKNESS 1531 HUEJOTZINGO CODEX

SYLVIA RODGERS ALBRO, & THOMAS C. ALBRO



NOTES

1. Huejotzingo is located in the province of Puebla in the mountains outside Mexico City. At the time of the conquest, it was a large and important city. The Matricula de Huejotzingo, a Mexican codex from 1560 in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, describes 5,000 residents of the town and their professions (Prem 1974). The Huejotzingo Indians allied themselves with Cortés to aid in the defeat of Montezuma and the Aztecs.

2. Cline (1976, 14:4) describes “codex” as a broad term referring to “any paintings, drawings, or manuscripts which display traits of pictorial content, style, composition or formal symbolic conventions derived from indigenous traditions.” In Roberts and Etherington (1982, 60) a “codex” is described as “an ancient book composed of leaves of writing material fastened together so as to open as a modern book.”

3. At the time of the conquest of Mexico, Cortés carried a banner of the Madonna as his personal insignia. The drawing appeared seventh in sewing order in the manuscript. Sewing order of the drawings did not match the order in which they were mentioned in the text.

4. Legajo refers to the sewn or tied bundle form of many Spanish legal documents from this period. In the Mexican National Archives as well as the Archives of the Indies in Seville, legajos are numbered consecutively for cataloging purposes.

5. Valls i Subira (1980, 1:22) has an illustration of a papermakers' stone in the Museo Civico Mediœvale, Bologna, and a description of Italian industry and its relationship with Spain at the time.

6. The authors examined many related Cortés family documents in the Hospital de Jesús in the Mexican National Archives in October 1987 and compared watermarks and papers to make a number of exact matches with the Library of Congress Huejotzingo manuscript.

7. The Library of Congress microfilm made before 1942 shows the pressure-sensitive tape in place.

8. All pH measurements were done using a Fisher Accumet pH meter, model 320, with a flat-head electrode.

9. Amatl is the Nahuatl word for paper. More than 20 species of ficus (from the mulberry family) are found in Mexico, and many varieties have been used for papermaking. The branches used are vinelike and close to the bottom of the trees. For a complete description of Mexican papermaking and samples of amatl and other papers, see Lenz (1961). Identification of the Library manuscript fibers were made by comparisons with samples and photomicrographs from Lenz.

10. Metl is the Nahuatl word and maguey is the Spanish term for the agave plant. maguey cactus is native to Mexico. Varieties exist such as Agave atrovirens, the “century” plant, one type used for papermaking. Identification of maguey fibers in the Library manuscript was made by comparison with a clipping of maguey cactus from the Puebla province collected by the authors in October 1987 and with photomicrographs from Lenz (1961).

11. Amate describes many species of ficus trees that are used for papermaking. The amate fiber used by the authors was obtained from contemporary papermaker and artist Susan Kern, who lived in Mexico for many years and worked closely with papermakers from San Pablito. In August 1987, Kern conducted a workshop for the Library of Congress in the technique of Mexican papermaking. She used a fiber that the authors examined under polarized light microscopy and found to resemble most closely the sample of “mulberry” fiber paper in Lenz (1961).

12. Both historical sources and microscopic examination comparing codex pigment to known samples of cochineal seem to confirm that the red pigment is cochineal. No precise chemical tests have identified the pigment.

13. Memorandum, Stella R. Clemence to Dr. Sioussat, Manuscript Division, March 15, 1943, Library of Congress case file, n.d. The following specialists were consulted before making the decision to disbind the codex: Dr. John Hébert, acting chief, 1987–88, Hispanic Division, Library of Congress; Dr. Guadalupe Jiménez-Codinach, Hispanic Division visiting scholar; Richard Bickel, acting head, 1987–88, Preparation Section, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress; Mary Ellis Keilor, Hispanic manuscripts specialist (retired), Manuscript Division, Library of Congress; Dr. Benjamin Warren, history professor, University of Maryland,transcriber and translator of the Harkness collection material; Dr. Xavier Noguez, El Colegio de Mexico, Centro de Estudios Historicos, Mexico; Dr. Miguel Leon-Portilla, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM); Dr. Alfredo López-Austin, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM; Francisco Morales, historian, Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, Coyoacán, Mexico; Dr. Carmen Aguilera, Instituto Nacional de Antropológia, Museo Nacional de Antropológia, Mexico; Luis Torres, conservator, Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, UNAM.

14. Black-and-white 4 × 5-in photographs were made of the binding, drawings, and selected manuscript pages. Color Ektachrome 4 × 5-in transparencies and color Ektachrome slides were made of the same plus details.

15. The enzyme used was Sigma alpha amylase from Bacillus subtilis in .2% aqueous solution.

16. Parchment size is made at the Library of Congress by soaking parchment clippings overnight in water, rinsing, then cooking the clippings over low heat for six hours and refrigerating. The stock solution is diluted for use with isopropyl alcohol and water.

17. See n. 11.



REFERENCES

Aguilera, C.1985. Flora y fauna Mexicana, mitologia y tradiciones. Mexico City: Editorial Everest Mexicana, S. A..

deBenaventeMotolinía, FriarT.1973. History of the Indians of New Spain. Ed. and trans. E. A.Foster. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Briquet, C. M.1955. Papier et filigranes des Archives de Genes, 1154–1700. In Briquet, Opuscula. Hilversum, The Netherlands: Paper Publications Society. 184–205.

Cline, H. F., ed.1976. The handbook of Middle American Indians: Guide to ethnohistorical sources, pt. 3. Austin: University of Texas.

Fitzpatrick, J. C.1928. Notes on the care, cataloguing, calendaring and arranging of manuscripts. 3d ed.Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Hernández, F.1942–46. The plants of New Spain. Mexico City: Imprenta Universitaria.

Keyes, K. M.1984. The use of friction mounting as an aid to pressing works of art on paper. In The Book and Paper Group annual, vol. 3. Washington, D.C.: AIC Book and Paper Group.

Lenz, H.1961. El papel indigena Mexicano: Historia y supervivencia. 1948. Trans. H. M. Campbell. Mexico City: Rafael Loera y Chavez, Editorial Cultura.

Library of Congress. 1974. The Harkness Collection in the Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress.

Library of Congress. 1977. Deacidification methyl magnesium carbonate non-aqueous treatment. Library of Congress Conservation Workshop Notes on Evolving Procedures 500, no. 2.

Library of Congress. N.d. Heat-set tissue. Library of Congress Workshop Notes on Evolving Procedures 300.

Library of Congress. N.d. Case file, Harkness 1531 Huejotzingo Codex, Manuscript Division.

Martínez-Cortez, F.1970. Pegamentos, gomas y resinas en el México prehispánico. Mexico City: Resistol, S.A.

Mena, R.1926. Filigranes o marcas transparentes en papeles de Nueva España del Siglo XVI. Monografias Bibliográficas Mexicanos. Mexico City: Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores.

dePas, M., and F.Flieder. 1976. History and prospects for analysis of black manuscript inks. In Conservation and restoration of pictorial art, ed.N.Brommelle and P.Smith. London: Butterworths. 193–201.

Prem, H. J.1974. Matricula de Huexotzingo. Graz, Austria: Akad. Druck, Verlagsanst.

Roberts, M. T., and D.Etherington. 1982. Bookbinding and the conservation of books. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress.

deSahagún, FriarB.1963. Florentine codex: General history of the things of New Spain, vol. 3. Trans. C. Dibble and A.J.O. Anderson. 13 vols. Santa Fe: School of American Research and the Museum of New Mexico.

Segal, J., and D.Cooper. 1977. The use of enzymes to release adhesives. Paper Conservator: Journal of the Institute of Paper Conservation. 2:47.

Standley, P.1926. Trees and shrubs of Mexico. Washington, D.C: Smithsonian Institution and U.S. Government Printing Office.

Valls i Subira, O.1980. The history of paper in Spain. Trans. S. Nicholson. 3 vols. Madrid: Empresa Nacional de Celulosa.



SOURCES OF MATERIALS USED

Japanese stippling brush

Aiko's Art Supplies, Chicago, Ill.

Japanese papers (kizukishi, uda)

Andrews/Nelson/Whitehead, Long Island City, N.Y.

Gelatin powder (highest grade)

J. T. Baker Chemical Co., Phillipsburg, N.J.

Levaderm dye

Bayer Co./Mobay Chemical Corp., Rockhill, S.C.

Museum Mounting Board, fawn color

Rising Paper Co./Fox River, Housatonic, Mass.

Japanese papers (tengujo, usumino)

Washi-No-Mise, Kennett Square, Pa.


AUTHOR INFORMATION

SYLVIA RODGERS ALBRO is a 1982 graduate of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, State University of New York. After an internship at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and a position as assistant paper conservator at the Yale Center for British Art, she came to the Library of Congress in 1985, where she is a senior paper conservator. Address: Paper Conservation Section, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540.

THOMAS C. ALBRO II has been head of the Rare Books Conservation Section at the Library of Congress since 1980. He came to the Library, where he received his training with Peter Waters, Don Etherington, and Christopher Clarkson, in 1972. Address: Rare Book Conservation Section, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540.


Copyright © 1990 American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works