Shipping the 1st week of October
8 x 10"
4 Color Digital
Gold Foil Stamp
Crane's Lettra / 90 C
Packed & shipped flat in a protective sleeve with backing board
This is the first of an ongoing series of limited edition prints that will be released every year on the 16th of September: the day that marked the start of the fight for Mexican independence. Each one will tell a story of a person, event, or place, from the time that we commonly refer to as the Pre-Hispanic epoch.
The first print is a tribute to a misunderstood and often vilified character, who for many years was unfairly portrayed as a traitor to the Mexican people.
Malintzin, as she was known by the Nahua people, was a Nahua woman born sometime between 1500 and 1505, somewhere along the Coatzacoalcos river East of the great cities of the Aztec Empire. She is thought to have come from a noble family but sometime between the ages of 8 and 10 years old, she was sold (or possibly kidnapped) into slavery and eventually purchased by a group of Maya who took her to Potonchán. It was here that she learned the Maya language.
In 1519, Hernan Cortez arrived on the shores of the Yucatan Peninsula. After a battle with the Maya people, he was made a peace offering that included several women slaves. One of them the now 15 year old Malintzin. As Cortez and his men traveled deeper into the territory, they began to encounter people who spoke different dialects. Up until this point, Cortez had been relying on Gerónimo de Aguilar, a Spaniard who had been shipwrecked in the Yucatan Peninsula some years prior, to translate the Maya language into Spanish. But Aguilar did not know Nahuatl. It was then that Malintzin began to help translating Nahuatl to Maya, which Aguilar would in turn translate to Spanish.
Eventually Malintzin learned Spanish, and is often depicted as the sole interpreter for Cortez. And this is where things begin to get complicated. The series of events that led to the eventual fall of the Aztec Empire at the hands of several hundred Spaniards and hundreds of thousands of native people, were carefully orchestrated through painstaking diplomacy. And the key figure in these efforts, is Malintzin. Her role was so crucial, that Cortez himself was often referred to by her name. Some historians argue that Malintzin, upon seeing the power of the Spanish weapons, focused her diplomatic efforts on preventing the needless death of her fellow Nahua people. So here was a young woman, no more than 18 years old, a slave, crafting through influence and translation the future of an entire country. She was vilified for so long that the name given to her by the Spanish, Malinche, has become synomous with treason and as history often likes to do, a woman is blamed for the fall of men.
So here is our tribute to Malintzin. A Dahlia, an emblematic flower if Mexico, nestles a Brugmansia that houses a seashell from the coast: the fateful place of her meeting with Cortez. A coral snake winds around it with its tail in the beak of a grackle, or Zanate, reminiscent of the eagle and snake that decorates the Mexican flag. A Monarch butterfly delicately rests on the shell, a symbol of perseverance.
The artork is encased by a Memento Mori frame inspired by a poem by the great tlatoani of Texcoco: Netzahualcoyotl.