Cihuateotl (MH579r)

Cihuateotl (MH579r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound glyph for the personal name Cihuateotl (“Female Deity,” attested here as a man’s name) shows a profile view of a woman's (cihuatl) head facing toward the viewer's right. The woman has the classic hairstyle (neaxtlahualli) with the hair twisted up into points above the forehead. Her visible eye is closed. She seems to have a large round ear plug. What makes this glyph a compound is the thick black mark on her cheek, which recalls the double-strike (huahuana) mark that serves as the "hua" syllabic phonogram in the word cihuatl. The -teotl part of this man's name is not represented visually.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

By this time (1560), teotl was often being expressed visually as an anthropomorphic face, which was a European introduction that stemmed from the colonizers' translation (for better or worse) of teotl as "deity" and the Christian "God" represented in part as the man, Jesus Christ. Perhaps the woman's face was seen by the scribe as sufficing here, but it is nothing like the other examples of teotl, below. What might come into play here is the way the nenetl (deity image) is often a female, given how the same word can mean female genitals and doll. In both Classic and Post-Classic sculptural remains one can find a female deity called Cihuateotl, which represented the spirits of women who died in childbirth.

There are too many examples to mention here of men's names that involve the word "cihuatl," such as this one does. But the examples would provide great fodder for a study of naming practices and gender.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

peo. civateotl.

Gloss Normalization: 

Pedro Cihuateotl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Other Cultural Influences: 

woman, mujer, women, mujeres, eye closed, ojo cerrado, deities, deidades, fuerzas divinas, divinidades, fuerzas sagradas

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

La Divinidad Femenina, La Fuerza Divina

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library; used here with the Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SAq 3.0).

Historical Contextualizing Image: