Cozotlan (Mdz20r)

Cozotlan (Mdz20r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Cozotlan includes two prominent features. One is a cluster of at least four feathers from a yellow parrot (cozotl). The other is a building that conveys a sense of place, implying the locative -tlan. The feathers are full, long feathers, standing upright, and they are colored mostly yellow, but with white at the base. The building is what is traditionally interpreted as a calli (usually, a house). It is shown in a profile view, facing to the viewer's right. It is rectangular and painted white, with the exception of the t-shaped entrance, which has terracotta-colored beams.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

There has been some confusion about which bird provided the yellow feathers, either a parrot or a turtledove, but note the other yellow, feathered items below right. None of them has the stem of coco- (from cocotli, turtledove).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

coçotlan. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Cozotlan, 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): 
Reading Order, Notes: 

The cozotl, yellow parrot feathers, are at the top, but there are no teeth below that, which would provide the phonetics for the locative suffix [tlan(tli)]. Instead, we have the calli (house, building) visually but silently standing in for the locative suffix.


buildings, houses, feathers, yellow, edificios, casas, plumas, amarillo

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

"Cozo Place" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Where There Are Many Turtledoves" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 180)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"El Lugar del Loro Amarillo"

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).