Coliman (Mdz38r)

Coliman (Mdz38r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Coliman (Colima, today) remains to be analyzed more fully. But, it includes a shoulder (acolli), with water (atl) coming out of it, and a left hand (maitl) attached to the arm. The turquoise blue water has the usual line suggesting currents and the white droplets/beads and white turbinate shells splashing off the stream. On the wrist of the arm is a band of turquoise with black lines, including one especially thick black line).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The water reminds us that we need not just see an arm or hand (maitl) but also the term for shoulder (acolli), as they both have a phonetic role in the place name. The -man locative suffix can be derived from the verb mani), or if the ending really is -ma, it could be the phonetic stem of the word for hand. The Coli-, or first part of the place name, could be an apocopation of acolli.

The "shoulder" is perhaps a bend in a body of water. The noun colli can mean something bent or twisted, and perhaps the water (a-) identifies that it is a bend in the water.

Karttunen mentions the reading of "curve." She also explores the possibility of the merging of ahcolli + ima (the shoulder, its arm), but adds "that doesn't make much sense." In reviewing the analysis by Berdan and Anawalt (below, right), Karttunen does recognize that this glyph for Colima is much like the glyph for the "Acolhua" (see below, right, the glyph for Acolhuacan).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Colliman, 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

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 
Reading Order, Notes: 

If this is really acolli, then the water would get the reading started, confirming the shoulder/arm (acolli) element, and the ma(n) [of ma(itl)] would come last, providing the phonetic dimension for the man= of mani, the verb, to extent.. Then it would be multidirectional, downward and left to right.


arms, hands, water, brazos, manos, agua
(flagged for presentation ++)

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Place Taken By the Acolhuas" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 180; they suggest that this is atl, water + coloa, to bend, and ma, to capture/take)

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 38 recto,, image 86 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).

See Also: