Chiapan (Mdz13r)

Chiapan (Mdz13r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Chiapan shows an agricultural field surrounded by water (atl). The agricultural field is sectioned, alternating the purple and terracotta-colored parcels, and showing the usual texturing for agricultural land, with dots and tipped-over u-shapes. Presumably, we are looking at the land from a bird's eye view. The water has the usual turquoise blue coloring, with the white droplets/beads and a white turbinate shell splashing off the currents.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The land in this compound glyph could be a parcel called a tlalli or a milli, or, given that it is well watered, it could be a chinamitl/chinampa, but we do not have any of these stems ("tlal," "mil," or "chinan") in this place name. The water, especially curved as it is around the land, conveys the sense of the apantli (water channel or canal), and thereby also provides the locative suffix -apan. Chiapan and chinampan sound very similar, but the consensus is that the place name actually derives from chia(n) and -apan. Presumably, then, chia seeds, a food, grow on the parcel, but we do not see the usual marking for chia (dots). For comparison, see Teochiapan, below right.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss 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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

water, shells, agua, caracoles, chia seeds, chia, canales, canals, channels

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

"Chia Place" or "On Chia Lake" (rejecting anything about chinampas) [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the Water of the Chinampa" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 177)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 


Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 recto,, image 36 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).