Reproduction and restoration of Mesoamerican codices: problems and challenges
Keywords:Mesoamerica, Mesoamerican codices, manuscripts, facsimiles, reproduction, digital restoration, Borgia codex
The paper meticulously analyses the developmental trajectory of the reproduction and restoration of Mesoamerican codices within the context of historical and cultural studies pertaining to the region. The significance of qualitatively documenting such sources is underscored. Various technologies employed in the creation of reproductions are tackled, and their respective advantages and disadvantages delineated. The author sheds light on the interplay between technological advancements and the progress made in historical, archaeological, and art historical studies. Specifically, it addresses the improvements in existing documentation methods and the emergence of modern techniques, coupled with the easy access to the information through the Internet. The research primarily relies on freely accessible image sources. The study examines several facsimile editions of the codices that have been published since the 19th century, paying particular attention to the reproductions of the Borgia codex. Through comparative analysis the author evaluated the quality and accuracy of these reproductions, both among themselves and in relation to the original. Additionally, the article presents the author's findings on the digital restoration of two pages of the Borgia codex, undertaken between 2021 and 2023. The manuscript reconstruction process is elucidated, accounting for factors such as image complexity and fragment preservation. Within this framework, the article unveils certain aspects of Mexican mythology and iconography, and explores different perspectives on the interpretation of several scenes depicted in the codex. The results of this study are compared with other extant restorations and reproductions, thereby substantiating their relevance and accuracy. The paper concludes by examining the present state and future prospects of using graphic editors for the restoration of artworks more generally.
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