acatl (MH483r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black line drawing of an element for reed (acatl) has been carved from the compound sign for the personal name, Chicomacatl. The reed here is a vertical cane with divisions of the sort one sees on bamboo or carrizo. It has two leaves, one on either side of the upright cane.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

As the contextualizing image shows, this reed is a day sign in a calendrical name that was drawn from the tonalpohualli, 260-day divinatory calendar. Apparently, it was a good day upon which to be born: "They said the good days were Reed, Monkey, Crocodile, Eagle, House" (central Mexico, sixteenth century). See: Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún, Florentine Codex: General History of the Things of New Spain; Book 6 -- Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy, No. 14, Part 7, eds. and transl. Arthur J. O. Anderson and Charles E. Dibble (Santa Fe and Salt Lake City: School of American Research and the University of Utah, 1961), 129.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

reeds, canes, carrizos, cañas, plantas

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 

aca(tl), reed, cane, reed-arrow, reed-dart

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la caña

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 483r, World Digital Library.

Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library; used here with the Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SAq 3.0).

Historical Contextualizing Image: