Iconography of the Flora Depicted in the Mixtec Codex Zouche-Nuttall
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There is a gap in the literature of the ethnobotany of the Mixtec people of Oaxaca, Mexico; without this knowledge, a big aspect of the culture of the ancient Mixtec people is missing. The Mixtec civilization left behind codices that are drawings that can be considered an open form of writing. The codices are a systematic set of depictions that is read from right to left, and it details history through biographies, genealogies, religious and political events of the Mixtec people. This thesis examines the significance of the botanical iconography in Codex Zouche-Nuttall. It is important because it is a Pre-Columbian document that is void of any Spanish influence, so all the depictions of flora must be the plants the Mixtec civilization used in their daily lives before the conquest. The purpose of this thesis is to present extensive research into the current literature of ethnobotany in the Oaxaca region, analyze the contents of the Codex Zouche-Nuttall, try to uncover any reason that may be preventing the progress of the topic, and to determine what needs to be done to learn the ethnobotanical use of plants to the Mixtec People. There is currently a major roadblock that might prevent conducting any type of anthropological or archeological research in Oaxaca. The violence due to drug cartels in Mexico jeopardizes the safety of any type of researcher, especially in the mountainsides of Oaxaca where cartels retreat to hide out. There is too much liability at the moment to safely conduct any research projects in the area. This thesis lays out the foundation of bridging the gap in the knowledge of ethnobotany to the Mixtec people of Oaxaca. It also serves as a beginning point in the work of species identification and the ethnobotanical uses of the hundreds of plants depicted in Codex Zouche-Nuttall.