aztaquemitl (Mdz21v)

aztaquemitl (Mdz21v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name, Aztaquemecan. It is a small garment (quemitl) worn on the chest with a tie that would have gone around the back of the neck, holding up two rows of four white tail feathers per row. They are the feathers of the heron or egret (aztatl).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The quemitl is a garment, a ritual vestment worn on the chest, not a bib worn to catch drool or spilled food, although it is sometimes translated as bib. The strap at the top of the quemitl could be made of leather. Another example of a quemitl in the Codex Mendoza is the cuauhquemitl, also made with feathers, but with the wing feathers of eagles in this case.
Some Nahua women in Mexico still today wear a blouse called a quechquemitl. The quech- part seems to refer to a garment that goes over the head or around the neck. The quechquemitl) has a point in front and back, differing from the better known blouse, the huipilli. This image shows the quechquemitl) on the left and the huipilli on the right. Frances Karttunen states that when quemitl) is not preceded by quech-, it is typically preceded by tla-, as in something worn. The verb quemi, means to put something on, to wear a garment.

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

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


quemitl, quimitl, quemetl, aztatl, aztaquemitl, bib, garment

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

aztaquemi(tl), Snowy Egret feather bib,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

prenda de pecho con plumas de garceta

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 21 verso,, image 53 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).