El Maguey Y el Pulque en los códices Mexicanos (The Maguey and Pulque in the Mexican Codices)


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Author: Gonçalves de Lima, Oswaldo  (1908-1989)

Publisher: Fondo de Cultura Economica

Pub Date: 1956 (First edition)

Binding: Hardcover

Condition: Book: Fair.  Split in binding between front board and front end paper (sewn binding so it’s still “tight”).  Previous owner’s name stamped on half-title and tile page, and hand-written on title page.  Smudges to half-title page.    Dust Jacket: Poor.  All of the upper rear edge is missing, anywhere from 1/4″ to 1/2″, through spine head and into the upper front cover edge for about an inch.  Numerous chips, tears, missing pieces.  Spine is chipped and torn, but title is readable.   Now in mylar (and not a minute too soon).

Notes: IN SPANISH.  Let’s start with the title: El Maguey y El Pulque–maguey is a cactus-like plant, a relative of the agave, and pulque is a fermented drink made from the sap of the maguey plant.  Pulque has been produced in central Mexico for millennia.  Gonçalves de Lima, a Brazilian chemist, published a study of the Brazilian fermented drink tiquira (sound familiar?) in 1943, showing that tiquira was related to the Chinese kiu-tze and the Japanese koji, molds used to ferment rice drinks, and used the same fermentation techniques.  This volume explores the maguey plant as a source of raw materials–clothing, food, rope, roofing, tools and especially paper, as well as the source for pulque (using the same fermentation techniques as tiquira), AND was used as a water supplement, where it was discovered that it provided a vitamin boost to water.  The author describes Aztec culture as a maguey civilization.  Mayahuel, the goddess of maguey, is seen as the most important deity–she of 400 breasts to feed the 400 gods of drunkenness who were her children.  Pulque was used by rich and poor alike, as a ritual beverage (combat, sacrifices) and, in modern terms, “something to take the edge off.”  There are drawings throughout of maguey and pulque gods from the Mexican codices.



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