choloa (Mdz23v)

choloa (Mdz23v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This glyhic element for the verb "to flee" or "to jump" (cholo(a)) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Atl Icholoayan. The visual is a bent deer leg (ready to flee or jump?), with a bent paw (with purple hooves). A white bone protrudes at the top of the leg, reminiscent of the bone that often protrudes from the human arm at the site of the shoulder (acolli). The coat on the leg is textured, and the top of it is a brown fading to terracotta and then white on the underneath side. In the other example of choloa attested (below, right) the hoof material is colored turquoise. Deer antlers, when visible, can also have this turquoise color, but also white (see also below, right).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Alonso de Molina explains that this verb, choloa, can refer to water that falls or squirts. So, while the deer leg suggests jumps or runs, it could easily be a metaphor for the action witnessed at a waterfall.

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


deer, venados, legs, piernas, cascos, pezuñas, verbos, brincar, huir

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

choloa, to flee, jump, run, flow,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

to flee or jump

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 23 verso,, image 57 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).