acatl (Mdz13r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name, Acatepec. It features two, fairly short, turquoise-colored plants (acatl) that, in the original compound glyph, were located on top of a hill or mountain (tepetl).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The use of these plants underlines the reading of acatl. The other acatl sign that is also represented at top of the hill or mountain is a piece of an arrow, which will sometimes also have the phonetic value of acatl). Besides being a plant that was prevalent in the landscape, acatl was a year sign in the calendar.
Wikipedia has published a photo of acatl plants.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


arrows, reeds, rushes, plants, canes, darts, arrows, xiuhpohualli, año, turquesa, xihuitl

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

reed, reeds

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la caña

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 recto,, image 36 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, hold the original manuscript, the MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1. This image is published here under the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0).