achtli (MH593v)

achtli (MH593v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the element achtli (seeds) has been extracted from the compound place name Actocan. The artist drew a horizontal group of small, nearly circular shapes, in two rows. In the original, these rows stretch across the roof of a building, which is likely the reason for this horizontal clustering.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

What type of seeds are these? Various translations offer (in Spanish): "grana," "semilla de hierbas," or "pepita." See the Gran Diccionario Náhuatl. They could also be perceived as having the shape of achiotl (see below), and many of them could be taken for hastily-drawn corn kernels (hasty, because they lack the germ). Thus, achtli may simply be a generic word for seeds.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


seeds, semillas, granas, pepitas, hierbas

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

la semilla

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
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).