cuahuitl (Mdz48r)

cuahuitl (Mdz48r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element of a tree (cuahuitl) has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name, Cuauhtochco. The tree stands vertically, with the main trunk and two branches. One branch curves off to the right and the other to the left. The foliage is green and the trunk is brown. There is a dark gray or black diagonal stripe (tlalcuahuitl) cutting across the middle of the trunk, slightly broken by a smaller brown stripe parallel to it.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

In the compound glyph, the tree element (cuauh-) sits atop the rabbit (tochtli), and the locative -co is not represented visually. Trees will take various shapes and colors, as will be attested in this database, but this one is classic. The black stripes (tlilcuahuitl) are phonetic indicators that this sign is a tree (cuahuitl), something I discovered independently, but which has also been pointed out by Brígida von Mentz ("De árboles, raíces, y locativos en la iconografía del México antiguo," Tlalocan 15, 2008, 216–219).

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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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

Crystal Boulton-Scott made the SVG version.


trees, árboles

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el árbol

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 48 recto,, image 106 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).