Acolnahuac (Mdz17v)

Acolnahuac (Mdz17v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

In this compound glyph for the place name Acolnahuac we have two principal elements. One is the arm with a left hand (reaching to the viewer's right) and a protruding bone that references the shoulder (acolli). The bone is white, and the arm and hand are colored terracotta. The other visual is a speech scroll emerging from lips imbedded in the arm. Speech or language involves the word nahuatl).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Here, nahuatia (to give orders) or nahuatl) (speech or language) is not meant to refer literally to the language or sound, but to be a phonetic prompt for the locative suffix -nahuac, near to. Like the place name Cuauhnahuac, which refers to being near the trees or woods (cuahuitl), here, the reference to a shoulder would not be literal, but probably a phonetic clue pointing to a feature in the landscape, such as a bend in a river or a cove in a lake.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

acolnahuac. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Acolnahuac, pueblo

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

language, speech, sounds, scrolls, shoulder, bones, arms, hands, idiomas, lenguas, palabras, sonidos, volutas, hombros, huesos, brazos, manos, -nahuac locative
(flagged for presentation ++)

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

"Adjacent to the Water-Bend"? or "Adjacent to the Acolhuah"? Karttunen notes that the locative suffix -nāhuac means "close enough to be heard clearly." She also refers to the ācōl- as possibly meaning water-bend, even though it is visually represented by a shoulder (ahcōl-). She also interprets the mouth and speech scroll as standing for the verb, nāhuatiā. [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Near the Curve of the Water" (Whittaker, 2021, 68); "Beside the Shoulder" or "Beside the Acolhua" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, 169)

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"Cerca de la Curva del Río(?)"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 17 verso,, image 45 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).