Cuauhquemecan (Mdz22r)

Cuauhquemecan (Mdz22r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Cuauhquemecan includes a mountain or hill [tepetl), but silent here], and on top of that is an eagle's (cuauhtli) head. Below the eagle, superimposed on the hill, is a ritual bib (quemitl) made of brown feathers, presumably eagle feathers. A horizontal red line at the top of the bib or vestment may indicate a leather strap that would be used to tie it around the neck, so that it would hang on the chest. The (-can) locative suffix, which means "place where," is not shown visually.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The eagle (cuauhtli) appears as a head only, . The eagle's head underlines how the quemitl) (ritual bib) that appears inside the hill is made of (brown) eagle tail or wing feathers. In fact, the root for this place name may well be cuauhquemitl, referring to special garments made of eagle feathers, but we have a double cuauhtli element, meant to ensure the reading of cuauh-. While the locative suffix -can is not pictured visually, the tepetl is probably meant as a silent locative, and what Whittaker (2021, 75) would call a "semantic complement."

Karttunen's translation recognizes the importance of the eagle garment in this place name. It may be a place known for making such garments. Berdan and Anawalt, who also embrace the importance of eagle garments in association with this palce, read the garment as a cape, but the image suggests a possible bib or vestment hanging over the chest.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

quauhquemecā, puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Cuauhquemecan, 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

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

eagles, feathers, birds, ritual bibs, adornment, hills, mountains, águilas, plumas, aves, adornos, cerros, montañas, vestimentas rituales, quauhquemitl, Quauhquemecan

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

"Where People Have Eagle Garments" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Place of the Eagle Feather Cape" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, 201)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"El Lugar Donde Se Encuentran los Cuauhquemitl"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 22 recto,, image 54 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).