Alhuexoyocan (Mdz26r)

Alhuexoyocan (Mdz26r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Alhuexoyocan, shows two principal elements. First, there is the "al" from atl) or ātl), water, which is a phonetic value that is seen sometimes, even if "a" is the norm. Second, the glyph contains a white willow tree, huexotl), or salix alba, in Latin, if this is in fact the same tree. The tree has one leader and two additional branches, and at the end of each is greenery in two tones of green. This green foliage is more pointed than, for instance, the foliage of the usual cuahuitl in this codex. Here, the greenery is extra dark at the center and lighter at the tips, perhaps suggestive of the "white" willow and perhaps meant to give the branches dimensionality. The white part of the salix alba is found on the underside of the green leaves. The invisible elements are -yo- [from yotl), or the inalienable possession of that trait, i.e. the white willow] and -can (the locative suffix). The water, which swirls around the base of the tree, is, as expected, painted a turquoise blue color and the alternating droplets/beads and turbinate shells splashing off it.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Frances Karttunen interprets the graphic elements as relating to water (ā-) and willow (huexō-). With regard to the morpheme constitutes, she asks if the "l is a slip, or is it like the l in āltepētl, which is also from 'water'?" Gordon Whittaker (Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs, 2021, 88) points out how this was originally a phrase, atl huexoyocan, that became adapted through fusion, dropping the "t" from atl), but retaining the "l," similar to the way xihuitl temoc, "he has descended like a meteor," became the fused name Xihuiltemoc. The -yoh, says Karttunen, refers to a "thing invested with the quality of" a preceding noun, and it "is not the same as 'many'." So, while she does not challenge the "Place Full of Water Willows" interpretation, the result could be "Water Willows Place."

In Mexican Spanish today, the tree in this place is called either a huejote, an ahuejote, or an ahujote. It is apparently a Bondpland willow, which in scientific terms is a Salix bonplandiana. There is a place with the name Huejote name in the state of Zacatecas today, according to the Spanish Open Dictionary.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

alhuexoyocā. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Alhuexoyocan, 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): 

trees, willows, water, shells, sauces, agua, caracoles

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

a(tl) or ā(tl), water,
huexo(tl) or huexō(tl), white willow tree,
-yo(tl)-, having that characteristic or quality/inalienable possession,
-can (locative suffix),

Karttunen’s Interpretation: 

"Place Full of Water Willows" -- Frances Karttunen agrees with the reading of this glyph from Berdan and Anawalt. [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Where the Water is Full of Willows" (Whittaker, 2021, 88); "Place Full of Water Willows" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 170)

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"Lugar de Ahuejotes" o "Lugar de Sauces"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 26 recto,, image 62 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).