acatl (Mdz23r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element of reeds (acatl) has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name Miacatla. There are two visuals in this element, which practically make it another compound. The tall, leafy, turquoise-colored plant typically serves as a glyph for acatl, but so does the arrow or dart made from a reed that appears in the middle of the plant. The added colors of red and yellow and the added feathers also recall the arrow (mitl), but various examples of acatl glyphs have these features.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This element for (acatl) leaves little room for doubt that the viewer will read "aca," whether from the turquoise plant or the arrow or dart made from the reed stem or cane. Besides being a plant that was prevalent in the landscape, acatl was a year sign in the calendar.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss 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

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

reeds, canes, plants, arrows, darts, weapons, tules, carrizos, xiuhpohualli, año, turquesa, xihuitl

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

reed, cane, arrow, dart

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la caña, o la flecha

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 23 recto,, image 56 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).