Chicomoztoc (Mxnus29)

Chicomoztoc (Mxnus29)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

The simplex place name for Chicomoztoc, "At the Seven Caves," shows a half circle with seven (chicome) embedded caves (oztotl). They are surrounded by what may be turquoise blue/greenish water (atl), all of it kept within the half circle. The caves are all open inside the circle, and they are divided by curling rocky separators that are this same turquoise blue/green. The ground inside the cave area is a coffee color. This region is cut through with thin red lines well separated one from the next. A plant with lots of greenish/turquoise blue leaves stands up tall in the middle of the half-circle. A white horizontal scroll/volute runs perpendicular to the vertical plant.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The legendary seven caves were like a larger underground cavern (like a womb) with seven chambers. These spaces are believed to have housed various ethnic groups who were the ancestors of the Nahuas. They emerged at some point and migrated to found the capital. Perhaps the best known painting of Chicomoztoc is in the Historia Tolteca-Chichimeca. See the Vistas gallery for the image and a brief explanation of what is shown there. Beyond what is said there, notice the red and yellow textured lining of the womb, reminiscent of the lining of the mouth of the earth monster in other caves (below) and the colors surrounding the umbilical glyph (also below).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

De este lugar
nombrado Chico
moztoc, o siete
cuebas salieron

Gloss Normalization: 

De este lugar nombrado Chicomoztoc, o Siete Cuevas, salieron....

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1590

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

central Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


caves, cuevas, orígenes

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

Chicomoztoc, a place name; a legendary place in the migration from Aztlan,
chicome, seven,
oztoc, cave,

Image Source: 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

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: