Códice Maya de México
Getty Conversations


A conversation between Dr. Andrew Turner, Senior Research Specialist, Getty Research Institute and Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, Dean of Content and Strategy, Smarthistory, in front of the Códice Maya de México. Installation views courtesy of and © 2022 J. Paul Getty Trust. Images: Códice Maya de México, Maya, about 1100. Mineral and organic pigments on bark paper prepared with gesso. Biblioteca Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Secretaría de Cultura-INAH-México. All rights reserved.

Around 900 years ago, a Maya scribe made Códice Maya de México, a sacred book that tracked and predicted the movements of the planet Venus. Today it is the oldest book of the Americas, one of only four surviving Maya manuscripts that predate the arrival of Europeans. A remarkable testament to the complexity of Indigenous astronomy, Códice Maya de México is on display in the US for the first time in 50 years.

Getty has joined forces with Smarthistory to bring you an in-depth look at select works within our collection, whether you’re looking to learn more at home or want to make art more accessible in your classroom. This video series illuminates art history concepts through fun, unscripted conversations between art historians, curators, archaeologists, and artists, committed to a fresh take on the history of visual arts.

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Additional resources

Watch a video on making amate paper from the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Andrew D. Turner, ed., Códice Maya de México: Understanding the Oldest Surviving Book of the Americas, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2022).

Cite this page as: Dr. Andrew Turner and Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank, "Códice Maya de México
Getty Conversations," in Smarthistory, May 17, 2023, accessed November 30, 2023, https://smarthistory.org/codice-maya-de-mexicogetty-conversations/.