azcatl (Mdz5v)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for ant [azcatl has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Azcapotzalco (see below, right). This insect is painted red, but its two antennae, its eye, and its two front teeth (or fangs) are white. It is shown in a profile view, facing to the viewer's left.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

As with other insects and bugs, the level of detail is impressive and suggests that the artist had looked closely at the subject. Ants in one's home had an associated negative omen. According to the Primeros Memoriales, published by Bernardino de Sahagún, "When ants scurried through someone’s house it was said that soon the owner of the house would die."

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

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 05 verso,, image 21 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).