This late 16th century catechism was written for the indigenous peoples of Mexico and contains the most important prayers of the Catholic Church: Persignum, Pater Noster, Ave Maria, etc. The invention of this pictographic script, which resembles a “bande dessinée” (cartoons or comics), has been attributed to the Franciscan Jacobo de Testera (around 1470 – 1543); therefore these catechisms are also referred to as „Testeriani.“ The script draws on the ancient Aztec script, but mostly invents new symbols, thus creating a communication tool for the conversion of Mexico in the 16th century. The first four rows of pictures correspond to the "Persignum":
Per signum Sanctae Crucis de inimicis nostris, libera nos / Domine Deus noster. In nomine / Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. / Amen.
Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 905, f. 1v + f. 2r
- line 1: I make the sign of the cross / as a Christian / before the cross // <from the> damnation (or) <from> original sin / as a sinner / save me
- line 2: Lord / the World / and also // I make the sign of the cross / in the name / and
- line 3: of the father / and / of the son conceived in Mary’s holy womb // and / of the Holy Spirit / also
- line 4: so be it, Amen / caesura. (Next is the Pater Noster)