chimalli (Mdz4v)

chimalli (Mdz4v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This glyphic element for a shield (chimalli) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Chimalpopoca. It shows an outer ring in a turquoise blue and an inner circle with a yellow field and seven white down feathers. The down feathers are textured with vertical lines about half way across each one, in the bottom half.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This is a war shield of the ihuiteteyo design, according to Frances Berdan and Patricia Anawalt (The Codex Mendoza, 1992, vol. 1, Appendix G). It can come in different colors. Sometimes the symbols on this design are taken for shells. An article by Ian Mursell in Mexicolore and citing the same authors, reminds us that they are down balls, which have associations with death. He also paraphrases John Pohl, saying that the war shield was very personal, it "represented the warrior’s soul, and would generally be burned at the funeral of a dead man." We also learn from The Codex Mendoza: New Insights (2022, 24), that "the tlacuiloque drew and painted a total of eleven ihuiteteyo, one for each one of the rulers of the city."

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


shields, rodelas, escudos, plumas

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 


Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
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).