Chilapan (Mdz37r)

Chilapan (Mdz37r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Chilapan consists of two principal visual elements, a red chile pepper (chilli) with a green stem, resting horizontally on the water of a canal (apantli). The chile pepper is horizontal, with its stem to the viewer's left. The canal is shown in a cross-section. It has a yellow lining. The water is turquoise blue and has black wavy lines (two especially thick black lines appear toward the middle). A white turbinate shell and droplet (perhaps symbolic of local jade stones, chalchihuites?) splash off the top of the water of the canal.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The apantli provides the locative suffix -apan, "on the water of." The chile pepper could literally refer to a place where chiles are found on a body of water, or, as suggested by Frances Berdan, this could be a place on red water, given that chil- can have a secondary meaning that refers to the color red.

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

chilapan. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Chilapan, pueblo

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, peppers, agua, caracoles, chiles, canales, canals, rojo

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

"On Red Lake" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the Chile Waters" [Gordon Whittaker, Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs, 2021, 104]; "On the Water of the Chile" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 178)

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 37 recto,, image 84 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).