Axolotl (FCbk11f241v)

Axolotl (FCbk11f241v)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic image is of a type of salamander called an (axolotl) foune in the lakes of the Valley of Mexico. It appears on folio 241v in Book 11, “Earthly Things,” of the General History of the Things of New Spain, also known as the Florentine Codex. The salamander is drawn naturalistically from a 3/4 perspective or a modified bird's-eye view. The animal faces to the right and rests on lines that suggest its watery home. It is shaded in dark grays, giving it a three-dimensionality. The artist was careful to show its gills and the claws on its webbed feet, as well as its characteristic wide mouth, beady eyes, a ridge running down its back and tail, and the rotund shape of its body.

Description, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Added Analysis: 

The axolotl is described in Nahuatl by Sahagún’s Nahua co-authors as being “like the lizard, it has legs, it has a tail, a wide tail. It is large-mouthed, bearded. It is glistening, well fleshed, heavily fleshed, meaty. It is boneless--not very bony; good, fine, edible, savory: what one deserves.” The English translation is found in Sahagún, Fray Bernardino, General History of the Things of New Spain: Book 11 – Earthly Things. Translated and edited by Charles E. Dibble and Arthur J. O. Anderson. Salt Lake City and Santa Fe: The University of Utah, The School of American Research and the Museum of New Mexico, 1963, 64. For an interesting discussion of an axolotl by the San Diego Zoo, see

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Other Cultural Influences: 

salamanders, salamandras, animales

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

el ajolote

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Image Source: 
Image Source, Rights: 

The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection. Absent any such restrictions, these materials are free to use and reuse. Researchers are encouraged to review the source information attached to each item. If you do publish anything from this database, please cite the Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs.

Historical Contextualizing Image: