camotl (Mdz44r)

camotl (Mdz44r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for what was originally thought to be a cimatl (an edible, medicinal root) has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name, Cimatlan. The predominant part of the place name refers to the medicinal plant. The root is a light purple and the foliage is green. The point of the root curves to the viewer's right.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

According to a presentation by Michel Oudijk (Library of Congress, 4/18/2023), the glyph for "cimatl" was misread by the person glossing it. Thus, the gloss refers to the camote, sweet potato, which is camo(tli) in Nahuatl. Knowing the Oaxaca context is essential for catching the error of the gloss, as Oudijk has explained.

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

Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


yam, yams, sweet potatoes, camotes, boniatos

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

an edible root, sweet potato

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el camote

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 44 verso,, image 98 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).