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The last sixteen pages of the Codex Mendoza present the daily lives of the Aztecs. This page depicts the chores and punishments for boys (on the left) and girls (on the right) ages 11 to 14 (the numbers represented by series of blue dots), as well as their daily rations of tortillas (one-and-a-half for the 11 and 12 year-olds and two for the 13 and 14 year-olds). In the uppermost frame, both boys and girls of 11 years are punished by being exposed to the smoke of burning chiles (their tears are marked in blue on their faces). At 12 years boys may be punished by being bound hand and foot and made to lie on wet ground. Twelve-year old girls sweep out the house. Older children become involved in the household economy, with boys helping their fathers to harvest reeds from the lake at 13 years and fishing at 14 years, while 13 year-old girls learn to grind corn into dough (masa) and 14 year-old girls learn to weave. Textiles were an important tribute good, with all women in the empire expected to contribute by spinning or weaving.


Berdan, Frances F., and Patricia Reiff Anawalt (1992) The Codex Mendoza. University of California Press.

Treasures of the Bodleian; The Codex Mendoza. Electronic resource,

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Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.