Almoyahuacan (MH512r)

Almoyahuacan (MH512r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Almoyahuacan features a bird's eye view of a body of water [a(tl)] that is disturbed, cloudy, or troubled (from the verb moyahua). It is full of "step fret" (rectangular) and rounded swirls or eddies drawn with black lines, thick and thin. The entire body is painted with turquoise blue. Three turbinate shells and three droplets/beads splash off the edges of the body of water at even intervals around the perimeter, as though coming off of waves. These are painted with a little bit of yellow where they connect to the water. Otherwise, however, they are left natural. The locative suffix is not shown visually.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The yellow colorant on the shells and droplets has yet to be explained. These items were deliberately painted only partially.

Glyphs for water come in many shapes and sizes, suggesting bodies of water, canals or waterways, or streams of water. They can also form raindrops and tears, among many other forms. Water can also provide a phonetic syllable for many words, such as "a" and "al." The swirling of the water here is also enhanced by the swirls in the turbinate shells. The potential significance of the swirling water is brought home by the name glyph for Tetzauh (omen), which seems to suggest that whirlpools (and perhaps whirlwinds, and the like) create a vortex that connects life on earth with a spiritual realm. See below.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Number of Parts (of compounds): 
Reading Order: 

water, agua, pertubada, agitada, nublada

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

Agua Agitada o Nublada

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 512r, World Digital Library,

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).

Historical Contextualizing Image: