Ahuitzotl (Mdz13r)

Ahuitzotl (Mdz13r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the personal name Ahuitzotl includes a stream of water [a(tl)] wrapping around an amphibious animal that resembles a dog [ahuitzo(tl)], according to Alonso de Molina. The animal here looks something like a squirrel. It is shown in profile, facing to the viewer's right. Its two front paws are in the air, and it sits on its two hind legs. It has a long tail that curls, with the stream of water curling right around the tail. The animal is painted a purple-gray. The water is a standard turquoise with lines of current and droplets (or chalchihuitl beads, perhaps) and turbinate shells splashing off of the stream.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

There is disagreement around the translation of this glyph. Some reject ahuitzotl ("water dog") and suggest it is a homonym for the compound word that combines atl + huitztli + yotl. Ahuitzotl, the famous man who bore this name, was a governing lord of Mexico from the late fifteenth until just after the start of the sixteenth century. Note the comparison glyph carved in stone below, where the water similarly swirls around the animal, although not involving the tail. Both artists employ considerable skill and creativity in the drawing and the carving.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Ahuitzotzin (Ahuitzotl)

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

Semantic Categories: 
Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order: 

animals, animales, water, agua, nombres, tlahtoani, tlatoani, tecuhtli, tecutli, teuctli

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

Ahuitzotl. The Lápida de Ahuitzotl, Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Salón Mexica. Photograph by Robert Haskett, 14 February 2023. The stone is from the "Casa de Tepozteco," Tepoztlan, Morelos.

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

a(tl), water, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/atl
ahuitzo(tl), water dog, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/ahuitzotl
huitz(tl), thorns, spines, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/huitztli
-yo(tl), -yo(tl)-, having that characteristic or quality/inalienable possession, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/yotl
-tzin (referential suffix), https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/tzin

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Revered Ahuitzotl" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 233)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Animal del Agua (parecido al perro) (?)

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 36 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

Original manuscript is held by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1; used here with the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Historical Contextualizing Image: