calli (Mdz40r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Ehuacalco. It is a white building in profile with a horizontal and a vertical beam, both painted orange. It is shown in profile view, facing toward the viewer's right.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The choice of placing the animal skin costume (from ehuatl, skin/hide) under the roof overhang resulted in the painter having narrowed the building. Thus, the carving operation involved in creating this element leaves something of an unavoidable distortion of the usual calli glyph.

Joaquín Galarza argued that this standard sign for calli was half of a building. But, if we flipped the building over and joined the two pieces together, the beam across the top would not be continuous because of the roof that hangs over the end of the beam.

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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


houses, buildings, architecture, casas, edificios, arquitectura

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

house or building

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la casa o el edificio

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 40 recto,, image 90 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).

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