comitl (Mdz13v)

comitl (Mdz13v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This simplex glyph represents a ceramic pot or vessel (comitl) sign consists of a round-bottom pottery vessel with small curved handles on the right and left sides. The opening is flared. The sign has been painted an orange clay tone.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The two-handled, flared-mouth pot shape is classic. Occasionally, content emerges from the top, the round bottom sits on a woven ring to help it stand up, and ropes or netting wrap around the vessel that would enable it to be carried or tied. Sometimes there is a decoration on the outside that indicates something about the contents of the vessel. The shape of the vessel can be symbolic of a woman's womb. For instance, a large tamalli (tamale) pot has been compared to a womb with babies inside. See, for example, Hamburger Beiträge Zur Archäologie, vols. 19-20 (1971), 151. But often this sign, comitl, is simply meant to provide the phonetic -co-.

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

Shapes and Perspectives: 
SVG of Glyph: 
SVG Image, Credit: 

Crystal Boulton-Scott made the SVG version.


jug, jugs, pots, vessels, ceramics, cantarillos, cántaros, ollas

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

comitl. Indicentally, note the quincunxes with a swirling center and four small concentric circles around the perimeter of the swirls, perhaps suggesting shimmer. Museo Nacional de Antroplogía e Historia, Salón Mexica. Photograph by Stephanie Wood, 14 February 2023.

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

comi(tl), ceramic pot or vessel,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

clay pot

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

olla de barro

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 verso,, image 37 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: