Highlight of the Ethnologisches Museum: “Lienzo Seler II” arrived at the Humboldt Forum

Ethnologisches Museum

The 16th century Mexican cotton cloth Lienzo Seler II (Coixtlahuaca II) from the collection of the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlinis one of the most impressive objects to be presented at the Humboldt Forum in the future. For almost 50 years, it hung untouched in its glass case in Dahlem - now, after extensive restoration, it has been transported to the Humboldt Forum and placed in a specially made display case.

Mixtec and Chocho authors produced the 383 cm x 442 cm (16 m²) cotton cloth 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.