cuahuitl (Mdz23r)

cuahuitl (Mdz23r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Cuauhnahuac. This is the tree (cuahuitl). It has a leader and two more branches, each one ending with two-tone green foliage. The trunk and branches have a terracotta color, and the curly roots (exposed) are red.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The is a fairly common depiction of a tree in the Codex Mendoza. Sometimes the trunks have diagonal black lines along the trunk, one thin and one thicker. The inclusion of the roots in the visual, and their coloring (red) may suggest an awareness of what lies beneath the soil, although roots of many trees in central Mexico are visual. One example is the amatl, as seen in a photograph shot by the editor. Its roots are now red, however. Perhaps the red color has an association with what we have seen elsewhere to relate to earthly interiors.

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 & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el árbol

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 23 recto,, image 56 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).