cihuatl (Mdz52r)

cihuatl (Mdz52r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for a woman (cihuatl) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Cihuateopan. The woman is only shown as a head, in profile, facing toward the viewer's right. Her skin is a tan color. Her hair is twisted, with black lines running through it, and a purple watercolor wash over it. The ends stand up above her head. She has a white earplug with small concentric circles.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The hairstyle shown here (neaxtlahualli) is typical of a sedentary Nahua woman. See below for another example of this hairstyle, with a bit more detail, worn by a cihuapilli (noblewoman). That one comes from the Florentine Codex.

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


women, mujeres, hair, cabello

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

cihua(tl), woman,
neaxtlahual(li), hairstyle of sedentary Nahua women, especially married women,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la mujer

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 52 recto,, image 114 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).