cuauhcozcatl (Mdz66r)

cuauhcozcatl (Mdz66r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic element provides a comparison to our glyphs for cozcatl (necklaces). This cuauhcozcatl (wooden neck ring) has nothing to do with jewelry. The ring was attached to poles (here, segmented reeds like carrizo or bamboo) and used to control an enslaved person. In this case the enslaved person is a woman, which is clear from the way she wears here hair, with two points at the top, and we can see the rectangle over her chest, which was a prominent feature of the blouse (huipilli) of that time. Her skin is yellowish. A stick (tlacotl) is attached to the ring around her neck. The neck ring is a purplish gray, as his her hair. Her clothing is white with red accents. The context image shows the typical female sitting pattern, where her legs are underneath her. She also wears a skirt. Her feet are bare, and her hands are crossed over her lap. She is in profile looking to our left.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The contextualizing image shows the dejected situation of the captive woman, who was the wife of a cacique who, in turn, was probably an enemy. The gloss explains that she has a type of stocks around her neck. The stick attached to her throat ring actually appears to be two osier twigs tied together at multiple points. The use of cuauh- here seems to point to the wooden material for the neck rink, although the color of wood in the Codex Mendoza is usually a terracotta orange. Interestingly, the word for slave is tlacotli, revealing an obvious relationship between the confining dimension of a neck ring connected to the osier twigs made into a rod, tlacotl, and slavery.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

prisiones en la garganta

Gloss Normalization: 

prisiones en la garganta

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

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


prisones, collares, esclavitud, confinammiento, encierro

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Spanish Translation, Credit: 

prisiones en la garganta

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 66 recto,, image 142 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

Original manuscript is held by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1; used here with the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Historical Contextualizing Image: