cihuatl (Mdz63r)

cihuatl (Mdz63r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example of a woman is meant to provide the basis for comparisons with glyphs for cihuatl. This woman is in a seated position with her legs under her (a classic posture). She is shown in profile, facing the viewer's right. She wears a skirt (cueitl) and a blouse (huipilli). The rectangle (pechero, in Spanish) over her chest is red, and the bottoms of both her blouse and her skirt are red, too. Otherwise the fabrics are white with purple shading, probably cotton. Her hands are in her lap, almost as though tied together. Her hair is long, reaching down her back. The skin on her face and feet are yellowish tan. Her arms are white. She has a turquoise earplug.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

As a search of cihuatl would show, Nahua women in this collection typically appear with their hair tied up with two points pointing slightly above the top of the head. This may be an unmarried woman, given that her hair is long and down her back. Her posture is also abject, which results from the fact that she and a man had committed a sexual offense. The contextualizing image shows that he is being punished. Perhaps, she too, would be punished, which is why she is sad. Thus, this example of iconography could also be used here to represent tlaxini and tlaxximaliztli, two vocabulary words for adultery. (Note; the double x in the latter term requires further investigation.)

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss 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


mujeres, women, punishment, castigos, adulterio, adúltera

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

la mujer

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 63 recto,, image 136 out of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

Original manuscript is held by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1; used here with the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Historical Contextualizing Image: