Lienzo Seler II Moves to the Humboldt Forum

Ethnologisches Museum

The Lienzo Seler II (Coixtlahuaca II) from the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) collection is one of the most impressive objects that is going to be presented in the Humboldt Forum. For almost 50 years, it hung untouched in its glass case at the Ethnologisches Museum in Dahlem. Now it is being prepared by conservators for its move to the Humboldt Forum next year.

Mixtec and Chocho authors produced the 383 cm x 442 cm (16 m²) cotton cloth in the 16th century in the Coixtlahuaca Valley (Oaxaca, Mexico) to document the origins of their rulers and the founding of their settlements in the multi-ethnic valley. They recorded events spanning a period of more than 500 years extending to the early Spanish colonial era, visualising their claim to power, land and privileges in the style of pre-Hispanic pictographic writing. The document is named after its collector Eduard Seler, who brought it to Berlin in 1897. In 2017 the Lienzo was published for the first time in colour, showing all of its details in numerous illustrations and accompanied by ten international experts’ extensive interpretations based on the latest findings.

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Together with her colleague Thomas Arens from the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum), Kerstin Flemming from the Ethologisches Museum is now preparing the Mexican cotton cloth for its move to the Humboldt Forum.