coyotl (Mdz13r)

coyotl (Mdz13r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name, Coyocac. The component here is the coyote, which was coyotl) in the original Nahuatl. We only see the animal's head, which is painted an orange color. His ears stand up straight. His mouth is slightly open, exposing his upper teeth. In this profile view (looking to our left), the coyote's eye is open, and we can see one nostril.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The coyotl was an animal that was prevalent in rural areas. It is notable for it howling, but it was viewed as cunning and wise. An old coyote (Huehuecoyotl) was a divine figure in Aztec religion. A famous ruler of Tetzcoco was Nezahualcoyotl (Hungre-Coyote). The animal figures prominently in the art of the Aztecs, as can be seen in this stone carving published by Mexicolore and currently on display in Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology. The texture of the coat in the sculpture is reminiscent of the coat in the glyph. Coyotes also figured on warrior's shields, such as this one painted by Miguel Covarrubias and published by Mexicolore as an example of the warrior costume called the xiuhcoyotl (turquoise coyote). After the Spanish invasion, Spaniards were called coyotes and the Spanish language was coyoltlahtolli (coyote speech).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

coyotl, coyote, animal

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


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el coyote

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 recto,, image 36 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).

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