Chalchiuhtlicue (TR11v)

Chalchiuhtlicue (TR11v)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This example of the iconographic representation of Chalchiuhtlicue ("Jade-Her Skirt"), the divine force or deity of flowing ground waters, shows a figure in profile, facing toward the viewer's right. She has water as her skirt (with white trim) and water in her headdress. Turquoise blue, which is the same color given to water, is the predominant color for this figure. She even holds a staff that is water-colored. At her feet is a large stream of water in which a male and a female try to swim, and there is a large, lidded basket with a white tie around it and a green stone necklace on its lid in this water. The water throws off white droplets or beads and white turbinate shells. The main figure's feet are wearing white sandals with red ties. She wears earrings that appear to be jade signs. She has a turquoise nose ornament, and additional ornamentation in front of her red face (outlined in yellow). The ornamentation in front of her face ends with a spindle loaded with white spun cotton. The deity's hair lis long and dark purple/brown.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Chalchiuhtlicue was a patroness of birth and her powers lay close to running waters. In Aztec imagery her skirt was made of jade stones from which water often flowed. She presided over the day sign 5 cóatl (5 snake) and the trecena Ce ácatl (1 reed). In her manifestation of Acuecueyotl she was the ocean goddess. As Ahuic she became the tips of breaking waves.
Tecciztécatl, lunar deity, was the son of Tlaloc and Chalchiuhtlicue. Huixtocíhuatl, goddess of salt, was Tlaloc’s daughter."> See Mexicolore for more information about Chalchiuhtlicue and her counterpart, Tlaloc, associated with celestial waters. This same article publishes another portrait of Chalchiuhtlicue from the Codex Tonalamatl of the Pochtecs (Féjervary-Meyer).

Eloise Quiñones Keber (Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 1995, 170) notes that Chalchiuhtlicue's "outstretched hands hold items typical of the domain of women, a spindle with a hanging strip of cotton and a blue batten. According to Thelma Sullivan (1982), "these weaving tools, more commonly associated with the deity Tlazolteotl, were also symbolic of human generation" [i.e. fertility]. Additionally, Quiñones Keber paraphrases the annotations on the manuscript as informing the reader as to the fate of those being carried away in the water below Chalchiuhtlicue, who, whether "born rich or poor" would "lose everything" in death.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1550–1563

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

deities, deidades, fuerzas divinas, divinidades, water, agua, goddesses

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

Chalchiuhtlicue, a deity, a fertility goddess associated with earthly waters,

Image Source: 

Telleriano-Remensis Codex, folio 11 recto, MS Mexicain 385, Gallica digital collection,

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 / Bibliothèque nationale de France” or “Source / BnF.”

Historical Contextualizing Image: