30 matl (T1871:1)

30 matl (T1871:1)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph plus notation for the measurement of 30 arm lengths (30 matl) of land, includes a red flag (pantli), standing for 20, and 10 small circles (representing ten ones), which bring the count up to 30. The circles run along in a horizontal row. While it appears that some of the dots may have colors, this may be inadvertent, and they may have been intended to be neutral, the same color as the paper. The hand (matl) below the flag is a left hand, and this is a certain length. It may refer to the length obtained from a hand to the center of the chest, or an arm's length, roughly.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The full measurement results in something of a mathematical equation, 20 + 10 = 30. The distinction between matl and maitl is something we are watching. It may be that matl is used more for measurements. Similarly, we are watching for the use of pantli, tecpantli, panitl, and pamitl. It is a challenge to differentiate between them, for they look very much alike most of the time. For now, when the banner has an association with a number, we are using pantli or tecpantli, watching how they are glossed, and when it is a phonetic locative for a place name, we are often using panitl. Apparently panitl was more common in "Mexico, the Tepanec heartland, and perhaps Colhuacan and Chalco," and pamitl in "northern and eastern flanks of the Valley of Mexico" [see: Jorge Klor de Alva, in The Work of Bernardino de Sahagún: Pioneer Ethnographer of Sixteenth-century Aztec Mexico (Albany, NY: Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, the University at Albany, State University of New York, 1988), 323]. As glyphs come in to this collection from regions where pamitl is more common, we will abide by that orthography.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Cuauhtla, Morelos

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content & Iconography: 

números, banderas, manos

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

treinta manos o brazas

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Single-page codex, Archivo General de la Nación, México, Ramo de Tierras, vol. 1871, exp. 1, fol. 28r.

Image Source, Rights: 

The Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), México, holds the original manuscript. This image is published here under a Creative Commons license, asking that you cite the AGN and this Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs.