Monumentos del
Arte Mexicano Antiguo

Antonio Peņafiel, 1890


Peņafiel, Antonio:
Monumentos del Arte Mexicano Antiguo, Ornamentacion, Mitologia, Tributos Y Monumentos, Berlin, A. Asher & Co., 1890, text volume and two folios of plates (318 in total). Issued in a limited edition of 500 copies. This is copy 375 and it is numbered in manuscript and signed by the author at the limitation statement printed on the back of the title page for the Spanish section. A lavishly illustrated and key work on Mexican antiquities prepared at the turn of the century. Peņafiel was a noted physician and historian and founded the Sociedad de la Historia Natural. Through this massive undertaking he recorded important Mexican antiquities at the close of the 19th century. Peņafiel designed the Mexican Pavilion at the Paris Exposition in 1889 and that structure is the subject a chapter in the book and 3 leaves of plates (289-292).

Text Volume (Tri-lingual). Elephant folio (16 3/4 x 22 1/2 in - 42 x 57.5 cm). Full title page listing three sections followed by the three sections (Spanish, French & English). Each section has a title page, an introduction (i-iii), 22 chapters and an explanation of the illustrations/plates (Spanish - 130 pp, French - 108 pp and English - 108 pp). The front and back boards are very heavy (ca 1/2 cm) gray cardboard. The front board is original with the title and information about the publication and the author. The books were originally issued with a cloth spine cover extending 2+ inches onto the front and back boards. On the outside of the covering on the boards there are thin and thick vertical lines. The original spine cover has recently been repaired/replaced with leather and the original 2.5 inch cloth from the front and back boards laid over that and the title applied in gilt on the spine.

Illustration Folios (2). The illustrations (318 leaves of plates) are organized under the categories shown below. These are basically the same as the chapters in the tri-lingual text volume.

Lista de Laminas

Plate Folio Volume I.

Ornato (plates 1-40)
Vasos (plates 41-79)
Mitologia (plates 80-108)
Metales (plates 109-116)
Utensilios (plates 117-123)
Urnas y Sepulcros (plates 124-132)
Estatuas (133-146)
Tula (plates 147-169)

Plate Folio Volume II.

Xochicalco (plates 170-211)
Mitla (plates 212-227)
Book of Tributos (plates 228-259)
Copy of Codice Zapoteco (plates 260-288)
Pryectos edificio Mexicano Exposicion de Paris de 1889 (plate 289-92) [Also 292 bis]
Otros monumentos (plate 293-312)
Suplemento (313-317)

Description of the Plates. The plates are on medium thickness paper stock. Each plate measures 16 x 22 1/4 in (40.2 x 56.2 cm), or larger. The largest plate is plate 291, Plan for the Mexican building at the 1899 Paris Exposition. This plate has five panels jointed together by linin tape and opens out to 5 feet 4 inches. Generally, each plate has the plate number in the upper right corner and descriptive titles in Spanish, French and English. Some leaves are double fold, triple fold or even larger. The plates are lithographs. They range from chromo-lithographs, to tinted lithographs, to hand colored lithographs to black and white lithographs. They reproduce photographs and drawings and paintings ranging from detailed multi-color images to complex and simple black and white line drawings. This set is sometimes described as having 317 leaves of plates. The last plate is numbered 317. However, there is a plate 292 and 292 bis so the actual total of leaves of plates is 318. All 16 leaves of plates in the Mitla section (Folio II, plates 212-227) are double page (32 x 44 1/2 in). The plates in the Tributos section (Folio II, plates 228-259) do not have descriptive titles printed on them and they are all printed on a tinted background.

Original Housing of the Plates (Folio Case). The plates were issued unbound in two folio cases. The original folio cases have an upper board identical to the upper board (heavy gray cardboard) of the text volume except one states "Primer Volumen de Laminas" and the other "Segundo Volumen Laminas." The back board of the folio case is same heavy gray cardboard but with no printing. The sides of the case are the same cloth that covers the spine and tips of the text volume. These folio cases were not durable and tend to deteriorate over the years because of the heavy weight of the plates.

Organization of the Plate Folios. Each plate folio begins with an title page printed in black and red. With the exception of the red color, the folio title pages have the same printing found on the upper cardboard cover of the folio case.

Black and Red Plate Title Page (Spanish).

After the title page is a Half Title Page in black (Spanish).

The plates follow and they are divided into sections. Each section is preceded
by a page with the section title and the plate numbers in that section (Spanish).


Examples of the Plates


Plate Folio, Volume I (Plates 1~169)



Plate 4.

From Vases in Texcoco

Plate 34.




Plate 48.

Vases of Teotihuacan

Plate 58.

Vase of Tenenepango

Plate 69.

Religious Vases of Oaxaca Museum
1 of 3 images on this plate



Plate 90.

Forms of Quetzalcoatl

Plate 104.

Azcaputzalco Pottery



Plate 111.

Collection of the National Museum

Plate 114.

Gold Rattle of Tula



Plate 123.

Cuchillo Azteca - Coleccion Christy


Urnas y Sepulcros

Plate 127.

Vase of Tlaltelolco



Plate 135.

Statute of a King of Coatlinchan

Plate 143.

Relief of Palnque



Plate 161.

Tula - Wooden Teponaztle


Plate Folio Volume II (170~292, 292 bis, 293-317)


Plate 170.

Xochicalco Lado Oriente

Plate 188.

Xochicalco Chronographic Signs on South Side of Staircase

Plate 209.

Xochicalco, West Side



Plate 215.

Plan and Portfolios of the Crypt



Plate 232.

[From the Book of Tributes]


Copy of Codice Zapoteco

Plate 260.

[From the Zatoteco Collection]


Pryectos edificio Mexicano Exposicion de Paris de 1889

Plate 289.

Plans for the Mexican Building in the Paris Exposition, 1899


Otros Monumentos

Plate 301.

Cuauhxicalli of Tizoc, Votive Stone of the Sun

Plate 311.

The Stone of the Sun (Mexican Calendar), National Museum



Plate 315.


Plate Condition. Plate 21, tear in left margin extending 3 inches into plate, chips on all edges, image area not damaged. Plates 166-8, 1/2 inch deep by 9~12 inches vertical piece missing in right margin, image area not damaged. The folio title page in volume II has waterstaining in upper left corner and a 1/4 in x 2 in chipped/missing area in the upper right corner.

Plate Condition in General. The paper of the plates is supple, not brittle. Small chipping on the edges or corners is present in approximately 15% of the plates. In no instance does it intrude into the image area. The paper is a beige (yellowish gray/pale cream). It does not suffer from age toning. There is often image foxing/ghosting on the back of plates from the plate below. The plates often have a light toned areas which cover a wide area. It is most visible on the back of the plate. It is light and while noticeable, does not detract from the overall appearance of the plate images. I believe that this may be a result of a natural aging process of chemicals used in the manufacture of the plates. This is an example of this toning.

Here is the paper compared to (a) light tan and (b) bright white:

Heavy Set. Total Weight Packed is 150 lbs. Would require three boxes each weighing ca. 50 lbs. Text Folio (40 lbs), Plate Folio I (55 lbs), Plate Folio II (55 lbs). The poor condition folio cases for the plates are included as well as two new museum cases housing the plates.

Indices Found in the Three Volumes.


Monumentos del Arte Mexicano Antiguo, Ornamentacion, Mitologia, Tributos Y Monumentos INDICE DE LAS MATERIAS. Introduccion i-iii I. Ornamentacion Mexicana 1 II. Vasos 3 III. Mitologia 4 IV. Metales 19 V. Armas, utensilios e instrumentos 22 VI. Urnas y sepulcros 24 VII. Tula 25 VIII. Xochicalco 31 IX Xochicalco. continuation 41 X. Los palacios antiguos de Mitla por Juan B. Carriedo 46 XI. Mitla, continuation 52 XII. Monumentos escritos 56 XIII. El Libro de los Tributes 69 XIV. Explicacion del Libro de los Tributos 72 XV. Tributes a Moctezuma II 79 XVI. Codice zapoteco 101 XVII. Proyectos de edificio mexicano para la Exposicion International de Paris en 1889 103 XVIII. El Calendario azteca, la Piedra del Sol, el Monumento de Moctezuma II 110 XIX. Interpretacion de la Piedra del Sol, parte central 113 XX. El Calendario azteca, continuacion 117 XXI. El Calendario azteca. diversas tradiciones sobre las epocas'cosmogonicas 119 XXII. Conclusion del estudio del Calendario 121 Explicacioii de las Estampas 125 - 130 TABLE DES MATIERES. (French) Introduction i-iii I. Ornementation Mexicaine 1 II. Vases 3 III. Mythologie 4 IV. Metaux 20 V. Armes, Ustensiles et Instruments 23 VI. Urnes et Sepulcres 25 VII. Tula 26 VIII. Xochicalco 32 IX. Xochicalco, Suite 42 X. Les palais anciens de Mitla, par Juan B. Carriedo 47 XI. Mitla, Suite 53 XII. Monuments ecrits 57 XIII. Le Livre des Tributs 70 XIV. Explication du Livre des Tributs 73 XV. Tributs a Moctezuma II 79 XVI. Recueil Zapoteque 80 XVII. Projets d'edifice mexicain pour l'Exposition Internationale de Paris de 1889 82 XVIII. Le Calendrier Azteque, la Pierre du Soleil, le Monument de Moctezuma II 89 XIX. Interpretation de la Pierre du Soleil Partie centrale 92 XX. Le Calendrier Azteque, Suite 96 XXI. Le Calendrier Azteque, Suite. Diverses traditions sur les epoques cosmogoniques 98 XXII. Le Calendrier Azteque. Fin de l'etude du Calendrier 100 Explication des Planches 103 - 108 INDEX OF CONTENTS (English) Introduction i-iii I. Mexican Ornamentation 1 II. Vases 3 III. Mythology 4 IV. Metals 20 V. Arms, Utensils and Instruinerts 23 VI. Urns and Sepulchres 25 VII. Tula 26 VIII. Xochicalco 32 I.. Xochicalco, (continued) 42 X. The Ancient Palaces of Mitia by Juan B. Carriedo 47 XI. Mitla (continued) 53 XII. Written Monuments 57 XIII. The Book of Tributes 70 XIV. Explanation of the Book of Tributes 73 XV. Tributes to Moctezuma II 79 XVI. Zapotecan Codex or Collection 80 XVII. Plans for the Mexican Building at the International Exhibition of Paris in 1889 82 XVIII. The Aztec Calendar, the Stone of the Sun the Monument of Moctezuma II 89 XIX. Interpretation of the Stone of the Sun Central Portion 92 XX. The Aztec Calendar (continued) 96 XXI. The Aztec Calendar. Various Traditions about the Cosmogonic Ages 98 XXII. Conclusion of the Essay on the Calendar 100 Explanation of the Ilustrations 103-108


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