Navigation
Abstract

Born in Austro-Hungary in either 1748 or 1750, Guillermo Dupaix became one of the first Europeans to observe and describe the archaeological riches of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Yucatan. Between 1805 and 1807, he lead three Royal expeditions to survey major Mexican archaeological sites, working in close concert with Jose Luciano Castañeda, an artist with the National Museum. Among the sites they visited were the Mayan ruins at Palenque, the Zapotec/Mixtec site at Mitla, and several Aztec sites.

The APS version of Viages Sobre las Antiquedades Mejicanas is one of several contemporary manuscript copies of Dupaix's seminal work on Mexican archaeology. The work consists of two volumes, the first containing the text, the second, copies of Castañeda's illustrations, which here lack the distortions introduced in King's edition.

Background note

Born in Austro-Hungary in either 1748 or 1750, Guillermo Dupaix became one of the first Europeans to observe and describe the archaeological riches of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Yucatan. As captain of the Regiment of Dragones de Almansa, Dupaix arrived in Mexico in 1791 and served for almost a decade. Between 1805 and 1807, he lead three Royal expeditions to survey major Mexican archaeological sites, working in close concert with Jose Luciano Castañeda, an artist with the National Museum. Among the sites they visited were the Mayan ruins at Palenque, the Zapotec/Mixtec site at Mitla, and several Aztec sites.

During his surveys, Dupaix was arrested under suspicion of being a revolutionary, and although he was acquitted, the charges brought his work to a halt. It took years for the results of his surveys and Castañeda's elegant illustrations to reach publication. Edward King, Lord Kingsborough, published a selection from Dupaix's account in 1831, however he introduced a number of distortions into Castañeda's drawings, making them look more Egyptian or Hebraic. In 1834, a more comprehensive, two volume edition appeared in France under the direction of Henri Baradère as Antiquités Mexicaines Relation des Trois Expéditions du Capitaine Dupaix, Ordonnés en 1805, 1806 et 1807.

Scope and content

The APS version of Viages Sobre las Antiquedades Mejicanas is one of several contemporary manuscript copies of Guillermo Duapix's seminal work on Mexican archaeology. The work consists of two volumes, the first containing the text, the second, copies of Castañeda's illustrations, which here lack the distortions introduced in King's edition.

The first volume is divided into ten sections, most of which are signed by Dupaix at the end (possibly in facsimile), and most of which were published in the King edition of 1831. These include:

Primera Expedicion, en al año de 1805 16p.King, vol. 5, 209-225.
Descripcion de las Mistodas, alta y baxa, 2a Expn., 1806. Borrador 2o. 65p.King, vol. 5, 227-246.
Descripcion de Monte Alvan, ó Borrador, 2a Expn. 12p.King, vol. 5, 247-251.
Descripcion de los Monumentos antiguos de Sn. Pablo Mitlan, 2s Expn., 1806 37p.King, vol. 5, 253-268.
Descripcion de Guiláâ, Zachila y Quilápa. 32p.King, vol. 5, 269-278.
Descripcion de Tepeyacac, Puebla y Tlaxcálan, 2a. Expn. 21p.
Tlaxcala y Puebla 18p.King, vol. 5, 285-294.
Palenque (2o al 3a viage perteniente al Palenque). 40p.King, vol. 5, 294-321.
Suplementa de la Descripcion del Palenque 27p.King, vol. 5, 340-343.
El Monumento Mejicano antiguo q. se haya en el angulo suroeste del Simenterio de Catedral... 6p.

Native American Images Note : In the second volume, almost 300 ink wash sketches, pencil rubbings, and watercolors of Dupaix’s expedition surveys of Mayan, Zapotec/Mixtec, and Aztec ruins in Palenque, Mitla, and Mexico City. Bas-reliefs of animals, men, geometric designs interspersed with pyramids (teocalli), fortifications, bridges, masks, idols, and diagrams of tombs and buildings. Primarily copies from rough sketches, with some signed by the artist Josef Castenada. Collated to follow Edward King, viscount Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico (1831), descriptive phrases on the sketches are in Spanish. The APS manuscript sketch file contains an inventory of the images.

Collection information

Provenance

Gift of Joel Roberts Poinsett, 1830.

Preferred citation

Cite as: Guillermo Dupaix, Viages Sobre las Antiquedades Mejicanas, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Recatalogued by rsc, 2004. Only scanned images are noted.

Other finding aids

The Dupaix volumes are indexed and briefly described in the online Daythal Kendall Guide to Native American Collections at the American Philosophical Society (entry 2140).

General physical description

2 vols.

Related material

The Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin contains a small collection of Guillermo Dupaix Papers.

Bibliography

King, Edward, Viscount Kingsborough, Antiquities of Mexico, 6 vols. (London, 1831).

Baradère, Henri, Antiquités Mexicaines Relation des Trois Expéditions du Capitaine Dupaix, Ordonnés en 1805, 1806 et 1807, 2 vols. (Paris: Jules Didot, 1833-34) Call no.: 913.72 B23a v.1, 2.

Antiquités Mexicaines Relation des Trois Expéditions du Capitaine Dupaix, Ordonnés en 1805, 1806 et 1807 [Prospectus] [Broadside] Call no.: 973 C683 no.271.

Antiquités Mexicaines Relation des Trois Expéditions du Capitaine Dupaix, Ordonnés en 1805, 1806 et 1807 [Prospectus] [Broadside] Call no.: Pam. Vol. 3, no. 27.

Antiquities of Mexico (London: Havell, 1831) Call no.: 913.72 K58 v.1-9.

Early American History Note

This manuscript collection falls outside the geographic scope of the Early American guide (British North America and the United States before 1840). It may be of interest to scholars interested in global history, international relations, imperialism, or the U.S. in the world.

Indexing Terms

Genre(s)

  • Pen works
  • Rubbings
  • Sketches.
  • Watercolors

Geographic Name(s)

  • Mexico--Antiquities
  • Mitla Site (Mexico)--Antiquities
  • Palenque (Chiapas, Mexico)

Personal Name(s)

  • Castaneda, Jose Luciano
  • Dupaix, Guillermo, 1748 or 1750-1817

Subject(s)

  • Archaeology--Mexico
  • Aztecs--Antiquities
  • Beyond Early America
  • Ethnology--Mexico
  • Indians of Mexico
  • Mayas--Antiquities
  • Mixtec Indians--Antiquities
  • Southwest Indians


Detailed Inventory
Mayan carvings
1805-1807 Request Item
Mayan carvings
1805-1807 Request Item
Mayan carvings
1805-1807 Request Item
Mayan carvings
1805-1807 Request Item
Mayan idol
1805-1807 Request File
Mayan idol
1805-1807 Request Item
Mayan sculpture
1805-1807 Request Item
Mayan temple
1805-1807 Request Item
Mayan temple
1805-1807 Request Item
Mayan temple
1805-1807 Request Item
Mexican temple, columns
  Request Item
Mayan temple, tracing
  Request Item
Mayan temple, floor plan
  Request Item
Ancient medal of Guatemala
  Request Item
Mayan temple, altars
  Request Item