acxoyatl (CmpRG)

acxoyatl (CmpRG)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This is element of the plant known as the [acxoya(tl)]. It appears in a 1651 Latin edition of Dr. Francisco Hernández’s sixteenth-century natural history. It is a black-and-white woodcut in this book. The roots are forked, the trunk twisted, and the frond-like branches extending upwards with slender stems and feathery-looking foliage.

Description, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Added Analysis: 

The acxoyatl (acxoyate), which seems to be related closely to the Mexican fir known as the oyametl (oyamel), is described by Dr. Hernández as having a chestnut-colored root, and compares it branches to those of the sago palm. These branches bear “minute winged leaves [are] like a pine." According to John F. Schwaller, branches from the acxoyatl were used along with other fir boughs in a ritual that occurred during the month known as Panquetzaliztli called acxoyatemaliztli. The gathered branches were arranged in a certain way, and this became “a place where individuals could place thorns that had been used for personal sacrifice and thus were covered in blood.” See Hernández, Dr. Francisco, Rerum medicarum Novae Hispaniae thesaurus, seu, Plantarum animalium mineralium Mexicanorum historia (also known as The Mexican Treasury; Rome : Vitale Mascardi, 1651), 348,; and also Varey, Simon, ed., The Mexican Treasury: The Writings of Dr. Francisco Hernández (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). John F. Schwaller gleans information about the ritual use of the branches from Sahagún’s Primeros Memoriales in The Fifteenth Month: Aztec History in the Rituals of Panquetzaliztli (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Zempoala, Hidalgo, Mexico

Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Reading Order: 
Other Cultural Influences: 

plants, las plantas, firs, los abetos, oyamel

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

Hernández, Dr. Francisco, Rerum medicarum Novae Hispaniae thesaurus, Library of Congress, -- pg. 348.

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

acxoya(tl), branches used in penitential offerings; fir,
oyame(tl), a fir or pine tree that is used for coals over which to cook; the fir forests are also a home for migrating monarch butterflies,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 


Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Relación de Cempoala - University of Texas Libraries Collections. 1580-11-01.

Image Source, Rights: 

Materials that are in the public domain (such as most of the maps in the PCL Map Collection) are not copyrighted, and no permission is needed to copy them. You may download them and use them as you wish. The image appears here courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin. If you do publish anything from this database, please cite the Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs.

Historical Contextualizing Image: