Chiucnahui Acatl (Mdz2r)

Chiucnahui Acatl (Mdz2r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This representation of the solar year (xihuitl) date Nine Reed (Chiucnahui Acatl or Chiucnauhacatl) contains a notation in ones (five small circles across the top and four running down from the upper right corner). Below the notation, centered at the bottom of the black-line drawing of a square or box around the date, is a simplex glyph of the calendrical reed. It is upright, short, and decorated with feathers. It calls to mind a dart or arrow in this way. The entire date is painted turquoise.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The calendrical acatl, at least in the Codex Mendoza, seems to be presented as an arrow with fletching, but it also grows out of a waterway. See some additional examples of acatl, below, which also connect the reed with the arrow.

Calendrics were an important element in the Nahuas' religious views of the cosmos. A boxed-in date says this refers to a year. The turquoise wash over the date is a visual reminder that these are dates, given that green and blue-green (xihuitl) is a homophone with the word for year (xihuitl). The color serves as a phonetic indicator for year.

The presentation of the notation, in two groups of ones (five and four) is like a math equation. It also echoes the language of chiucnahui, which is chiuc- (five) and nahui (four). While the stand-alone number for five is macuilli, the combining form (chico, chiuc, etc.) means "on one side," and it refers to having counted the fingers on one whole hand already and then adding fingers from the other hand, the other side. See our dictionary entries for chico and chiuc-.

Added 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

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

dates, fechas, ones, numbers, números, years, años, reeds, cañas, carrizos, plumas, feathers, canales, calendario, flechas, xiuhpohualli, turquesa, xihuitl

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Nueve Caña

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).