Axocopan (Mdz8r)

Axocopan (Mdz8r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Axocopan consists of a tree that bears indigenous plums (xocotl) growing out of a water way or canal (apantli). The tree has a leader and two side branches, each one with two-tone green foliage and yellow fruits on stems. The bark of the trunk is terracotta colored. The apantli is shown in the typical cross-section with its turquoise-blue water with a white droplet (or perhaps a jade stone) and a white turbinate shell splashing off the top. Horizontal lines across the middle of the water suggest currents. One of the lines is especially thick and black. The outer liner of the canal, which gives it some structure, is yellow.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

There is a tart beverage called axocotl, apparently made from maize (follow the link to our dictionary). The difference in translations between Karttunen and Berdan is partly owing to the effort to translate the bitter fruit as an adjective for the water. But Frances Karttunen explains: "If it were 'bitter water', I would anticipate xococ rather than xoco, and also the opposite order of constituents. If it were the wintergreen, I would expect Axocopacpan." Thus, we embrace the fruit of the tree as giving the place its name. It was probably a place where this fruit could be obtained.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

axocopan. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Axocopan, 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): 

water, shells, trees, fruits, agua, caracoles, árboles, frutas

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

"Axocotl Place" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the Bitter Water" or "On the Creeping Wintergreen" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 173)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"Lugar de los Axocotes"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 8 recto,, image 26, 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).

See Also: