acatl (Mdz20r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for reed (acatl) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Acapan. The reed consists of a short yellow cane (at the top), decorated with brown, gray, and white feathers, reminiscent of the decoration of cane/reed arrows.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This is the way acatl sign appears in the calendar, sometimes placed in an apantli (cross-section of a waterway). When it does not appear this way, it is a turquoise-colored plant with leaves (see below, right).

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, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

reeds, canes, plants, arrows, darts

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

reed, cane, dart or arrow

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la caña, o la flecha

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 20 recto,, image 50 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).