Atonal (MH487v)

Atonal (MH487v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound glyph for the personal name Atonal (“Water" the day sign, or Dzawindanda in Mixtec) is attested here as a man’s name. It shows a sun (tonatiuh or tonalli), which can represent a day (ilhuitl) as well as a source of energy for a person (tonalli). The sun has short, spiky rays in a circular shape, and in the middle there is a face. The face reveals European stylistic influences; the eyes, for instance, are not the stellar or starry eyes of the Codex Mendoza. Below the sun are three streams of water, each one with a droplet (or a bead) at the end. Water was a day sign in the 260-day divinatory calendar (tonalpohualli). The water streams have black lines of current, to suggest movement, and at the top is a small whirlpool, also pointing to visible movement. The tonalli of water may also refer to its shimmer, vibrance, or resplendence--all terms for shine or gleam that additionally refer to movement.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This is likely a case where a relatively average citizen was given an illustrious calendrical name. The famous Atonal was a Mixtec ruler. According to Wikipedia, Atonaltzin (in the reverential form of the name in Nahuatl) was also called Dzawindanda by the Mixtecs. He ruled the Mixtec kingdom of Coixtlahuaca. After the first Motecuhzoma took power over Coixtlahuaca, sometime in the second half of the fifteenth century, the Nahua executed Atonal apparently in revenge for the deaths of a large number of long distance merchants. Maarten Jansen and ‎Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez (Time and the Ancestors, 2017, 337) suggest the following meaning for Atonal: "Atonal refers to a person with a calendar name that contained the day sign Water." Notice how different is the glyph for Atonal in the earlier Codex Mendoza, with the sun here showing considerable European stylistic influence (such as the sun having a face).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

Juā atonal

Gloss Normalization: 

Juan Atonal

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huexotzinco, Matrícula de (MH)

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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

nombres de hombres, nombres de personas famosas, gobernadores, Mixtecos, calendarios, días, agua, sol, canales, tonales, fuerzas animadoras, religión indígena, tonalpohualli, rayos, brillar, luminosidad, lustre, fulgor

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

Brillo de Agua (?)

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 487r, 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: