cempohualli xihuitl (Mxnus19)

cempohualli xihuitl (Mxnus19)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This notation combined with a simplex glyph (which functions much like a compound glyph) represents 20 years. The notation is a shape that looks much like a tree or feather, which should stand for the number "400." But the gloss refers to 4 x 20, or 80, and the contextualizing image shows four of the notations captured in this one combination. The glyph is a red circle filled with turquoise (xihuitl) mosaic pieces, and it stands for "year." So, we are calling this notation-glyph "cempohualli xihuitl," but with some trepidation.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The gloss refers to four counts of twenty, which would be 80, not 1600 (if it should be glossed nauhtzontli) or the like. So, perhaps the what appears to be a tzontli (400) is really something else. See below for various glyphs with a reading of tzontli.

The red outlining on the turquoise mosaic seems to point the viewer toward a calendrical reading (in contrast to a reading of the turquoise stone, or herbs, or the blue color on a flame). Some dates are boxed in with a square of a different color, but here the year sign is encircled. This is not unheard of.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

nauhpohualli xihuitl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1590

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 
Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 
Other Cultural Influences: 

números, cuentas, años, tzontles, turquesa, tesserae, teselas, xiuhpohualli, xihuitl

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

ochenta o cuatrocientos años

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_15284/?sp=19&st=image. This image is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library, but the manuscript is part of the holdings of Bibliothèque nationale de France and the original source is gallica.bnf.fr/BNF.

Image Source, Rights: 

The non-commercial reuse of images from the Bibliothèque nationale de France is free as long as the user is in compliance with the legislation in force and provides the citation: “Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France” or “Source gallica.bnf.fr / BnF.”

Historical Contextualizing Image: