Atenco (Mdz51r)

Atenco (Mdz51r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Atenco has two principal features, a flow of water (atl) surrounding a partial face with a focus on the lips (tentli). The water is the usual turquoise blue with lines of current and alternating white turbinate shells and droplets/beads splashing off the stream. The stream flows around the back side of the face. The partial face is painted a terracotta color. The lower lip protrudes, calling attention to itself. The face is a profile view, and it is pointing to the viewer's right.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The reading of "lip(s)" is not literal here, but rather, the intention is more "edge," i.e. at the edge of the water (as in the shore of a body of water, such as a lake). A community on the edge of a body of water is completely imaginable given all the settlements on rivers and lakes in central Mexico. Berdan and Anawalt (The Codex Mendoza, 1992, v. 1, p. 172) suggest that the gloss may be an error, and Atempan was meant, referring to the Atempan in the Sierra Norte de Puebla. This Atenco compound glyph does echo the one that stands for Atempanecatl, found on folio 65 recto. And this Atenco is slightly different from the Atenco on folio 27 recto.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

atenco. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Atenco, 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

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

water, lips, edges, water's edge, shells, labios, orillas, agua

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

"On the Shore" (finding no fault with the Berdan and Anawalt interpretation) [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"At the Water's Edge" (Gordon Whittaker, 2021, 105); "On the Shore" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992 vol. 1, p. 172).]

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"En la Orilla del Agua"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 51 recto,, image 112 of 118.

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).