The Dresden Codex, 11th Century Mayan

The Dresden Codex is only one of four books left on the planet that was created by

the Maya people. Experts consider the Dresden Codex as the most imperative source

of information we have to tell us about the history and culture of the Mayans. We

learned from these findings that the Maya people were illiterate and used their own

hieroglyphs to document their notes which can be seen throughout the manuscript.

Unlike books today the Dresden Codex opens up like an accordion and has 39

pages, each of them double sided. Each page is 9cm wide and 20cm in height, but

when stretched out in full it stands in at just less than 12 feet in length, just like

our reproduction. It is believed that at least 6-8 different scribers attributed to the

manuscript based with writing styles within the codex. Pages contain various types

of hieroglyphs throughout the piece along side pictures and straight red lines creating

divides within pages. The time it took the Maya people to complete this book still

remains a mystery to us all.


The history of the Dresden Codex

It is believed that the Dresden Codex was used daily by the Maya people until the

invasion by the Spanish in the early 16th century. During the invasion the Spanish

instigated in the burning of thousands of Mayan scrolls, books and manuscripts,

phenomenally the Dresden Codex managed to avoid the claws of the Spanish and

remained in tact.

Many years later unknown to everyone, the codex reached the shores of Europe and

was purchased by the Royal Dresden Library in 1739 to add its compilation of antique

books and documents. The codex then managed to survive World War II although it

become somewhat damaged, it was restored.

If you wish to view the real Dresden Codex it is still on show at the Royal

Dresden Library placed between glass, allowing visitors to both sides of the ancient



Inside the codex

It took many years for people to understand what was inside of the Dresden Codex

and even to this day they have only deciphered around 250 of the hieroglyphs with

another 100 or so still remaining a mystery. Researches spent time studying stone,

rock and pottery carvings to give them a better idea of what the glyphs represented.

Over time it was revealed that the manuscript detailed Maya rituals about the New

Year, astronomy and their own 260 day calendar.

They somehow managed to document the cycles of the Sun, Moon and the planet

Venus into tables which have been confirmed today as being very accurate, they also

made several predictions for the future. Along side this they had a chapter on the best

time for agriculture and multiplication tables.

The codex was written using feather like brushes and its assumed that the colours

were made from vegetable dyes.


The Dresden Codex, by Ambush Printing

Our reproduction measures identical to the original piece at 11 feet long and 17 inches tall with 39 sheets, this is more than just a book, it’s a magnificent piece of cultured art. The book is comprised for the finest vellum paper and can be folded in accordion style or stretched out in full if you choose to mount it on your wall.

Click Here for your own  11th century Mayan Codex


About Ambush Printing

Ambush Printing puts history in your hand, literally. We reproduce exact replicas of the worlds most interesting and sought after books, manuscripts and artifacts.



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