Colhuatzinco (Mdz20r)

Colhuatzinco (Mdz20r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Colhuatzinco has two principal elements, a mountain with a twisted top (colli) and a lower, male body facing to the viewer's right and emphasizing the rear end or buttocks (tzintli), providing the phonetic element for the locative suffix -tzinco (little, lower, or new place). The hill or mountain is somewhat bell shaped, as is usual, with the exception that the peak curls to the right. The base of the mountain has the typical, horizontal, yellow and red stripes. The human body is nude with the exception of a loincloth, but we can only see the white waist band or belt of the loincloth. The knees are bent.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Colhua could be interpreted as people with ancestors, but this is also what the people of Colhuacan were called. The shape of the mountain recalls the glyph for Culhuacan, which supports the interpretation that this glyph refers to a "New Culhuacan," as suggested by Frances Karttunen. Whittaker favors "Little [Place]" or "Lower [Place}." Sometimes -tzin is a reverential.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Colhuatzinco, pueblo

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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

hills, mountains, cerros, montañas, Culhuacan, Culhuatzinco

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

"New Colhuacan" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the Little Place of the Colhua" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 180)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"Nuevo Culhuacan"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 20 recto,, image 50 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).