apantli (Mdz13r)

apantli (Mdz13r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Tepechiapan. It has all the hallmarks of water, with the white turbinate shells and white droplets/beads splashing off, the turquoise color, and a line showing flow or current. Here, apantli seems to indicate a river more than a canal.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Typical of water signs, this one has alternating droplets or chalchihuitl (round jade stones) and turbanite-shaped shells, splashing off the main flow. Water can take many shapes, but the turquoise color, the indication of currents, and the alternating shells and droplets splashing off, are hallmarks. This visualization of water could possibly intend only the "a" [from atl) and not the "pan" part of the place name locative (both of which are the phonetics provided by apantli in many cases). Apantli (water channels) are typically presented as contained by walls on the sides and bottoms, but not always, as the attestations of apantli will show, below and to the right.

Added 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

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


water, shells

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

water channel

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

acequia de agua

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: 

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).