aztaxelli (Mdz50r)

aztaxelli (Mdz50r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of an element consists of a device made from white heron feathers, which was employed to express "azta-" in the place name Aztaapan or Aztapan It has two long, white, wing feathers and two smaller down feather elements at the bottom, all drawn in black lines and without colorants. Most great white heron (aztatl) feathers have a smaller down element at the bottom of the long feathers, as shown in this photo. The Codex Borbonicus, as published in Mexicolore, shows a woman wearing clothing that depicts a feathered device that somewhat resembles this glyph (inverted).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This aztaxelli element has been taken from a compound glyph, paired with apantli, forming the place name Aztaapan. The lack of color on this black-line drawing may suggest a desire to emphasize "white," given that aztatl feathers--especially when taken from the snowy egred--can be white white. There are other ways of representing the aztatl (a heron bird), as will also appear in this database, and some heron feathers are found only as small round feathers (possibly down or breast-feather balls, tlateloloyotl), such as can be found attached to arrows (mitl) or darts, along with the long brown feathers of eagles.

This device is similar to the cuauhpilolli and the quecholli feathered devices (see below).

Added 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

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

SVG of Glyph: 
SVG Image, Credit: 

Crystal Boulton-Scott


feathers, plumas, insignia

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

azta(tl), Snowy Egret,
aztaxel(li), double heron feather headdress,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

white heron or egret

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la garza

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoxa, folio 50 recto,, image 110 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).