The Artist - Toltec, c. tenth century

I've been cleaning out old files and found this. It was tucked away during art school in the late 1980's:

Anonymous (Toltec, c. tenth century)

The Artist
(From the Spanish translation of Toltec Codice de la Real Academia, fol. 315, v. With the help of Elvira Abascal who understood the original Toltec.)

The artist: disciple, abundant, multiple, restless.
The true artist: capable, practicing, skillful;
maintains dialogue with his heart, meets things with his mind.

The true artist: draws out all from his heart,
works with delight, makes things with calm, with sagacity,
works like a true Toltec, composes his
objects, works dexterously, invents;

arranges materials, adorns them, makes them adjust.

The carrion artist: works at random, sneers
at the people,
makes things opaque, brushes across the
surface of the face of things,
works without care, defrauds people, is a

[Translated from the Spanish by Denise Levertov]

Toltec: an Indian people who flourished in central Mexico before the Aztecs, and who are said to have laid the foundations for Aztec culture.


Hanny said…
Very nice! Thanks for sharing!