Cortés Greets Xicotencatl in Mexican Manuscript
A detail from a larger manuscript page in the Lienzo de Tlaxcala, this scene was created by an indigenous painter in central Mexico. Scenes from the Lienzo de Tlaxcala, now just fragments from a larger set of images, draw upon preconquest painting techniques and conventions. Like Malintzin herself, the Lienzo straddles a world of indigenous, preconquest practice and European intervention. In this fragment, Xicotencatl, the head of the indigenous state of Tlaxcala, greets Hernán Cortés, the leader of the Spanish conquistadors. The two men would become allies, banding together to defeat Motecuzoma and his capital city, Tenochtitlan. Below and at the center of the image stands doña Marina; her placement underscores the role she played as linguistic and cultural mediator.
“Cortés Greets Xicotencatl.” Mid-16th century. Detail from Lienzo de Tlaxcala. Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas, Austin.