San Pablito, Mexico: Alfonso Garcia Tellez, 1976. Illustrated By Alfonso Garcia Tellez. Manuscript. Paperback. 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" Tall (oblong). Very Good. Item #005489055
Autograph manuscript by Alfonso Garcia Tellez concerning Indian magic and folk medicine in Mexico. The sheets are cream amate paper, illustrated with brown amate paper cut-out images of human and spirit figures, sometimes posed amidst brown amate houses, seats, around fires, and drawings of trees and background features using green and reddish-brown felt-tipped ink. As is the case with another known authentic example, the muñecos are shown in profile, rather than being symmetrical (see notes by Mayer below). This librito is very similar to the example of this same title acquired directly from Tellez himself, recorded by Karl Herbert Mayer, in “Amate Manuscripts of the Otomí of San Pablito, Puebla,” (in Mexicon: Journal of Mesoamerican Studies 34, 6, December, 2012"), but this copy is bound or possibly rebound (not a leporello or screen-fold), and the entire work is amate, with no imported papers used. The manuscript cited by Mayer was dated as 1978. "The brown amate figures are not cut symmetrically and are... accompanied by amate figures of houses, seats, and drawings of trees using green and brown felt-tipped pens. The muñecos are shown in profile. This librito is very different from the other [Tellez] manuscripts and combines cuttings and line drawings and the... leaves are not in the usual high format. The text focuses on the treatment of a sick child by acurandero... Preliminarily, this librito is here designated as “The Alfonso García Tellez Manuscript IV” (Nagual)." 22 leaves plus covers. 22 x 17 cm. The spine is reinforced with white linen. It is possible that this copy was issued in book form, or it may have been bound from a leporello. Unlike the copy cited by Mayer, the leaves in this copy are off-white amate, not "papel de china (China paper), a thin commercial tissue". The lettering on the lower covering is nearly identical to the hand appearing on the British Museum's copy of "TRATAMIENTO DE UNA OFRENDA PARA PEDIR LA LLUVIA DE SAN PABLITO PAHUATLAN PUE", known to have been acquired directly from Tellez himself. Tellez is considered to be the greatest of the brujas who made books. The lower cover text appears to be in the hand of one of Tellez' daughters (per Mayer this was standard for Tellez libritos). Though this copy is unsigned, the text, materials, and handwriting similarities lead us to ascribe it to Tellez, ca. 1978. "San Pablito, a settlement of Otomí speaking Indians in the Sierra Norte de Puebla, is renowned as a village of brujería (witchcraft) and the only remaining major center of indigenouspapermakers. The fibres of the inner bark of diverse wild figtrees (ficus sp.) and mulberry trees (morus celtidifolia) are used to produce dark and light brown sheets of paper. Curanderos (curers), sometimes called witches (brujos and brujas in Spanish), cut images of spirit entities from this paper for use in various rituals. The two colors of amate were used only by brujas to make "small books from handmade paper where the lighter paper is used as a background surface, and brown and darker muñecos, the “sacred paper cuttings”, are glued on. These figures are accompanied by Spanish texts written in capital letters with felt-tipped pens. The description and explanation found in the texts focus predominantly on ceremonies involving offerings to the rain deities and countless spirits of seeds and plants, aswell as traditional, old curing practices. The bound manuscripts are essential testimonials, written by indigenous curanderos, revealing their knowledge of the beliefs, the religious world, the cosmovision, and secret costumbres (customs) of their ancestors. The libritos (booklets) indeed represent valuable indigenous ethnographic reports."