cuauhquemitl (Mdz22r)

cuauhquemitl (Mdz22r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Cuauhquemecan ("Where Eagle Ritual Vestments [Are Made]"). This component refers to the quemitl), or small ritual bib that would hang over one's chest. This one has two horizontal rows with four brown eagle wing feathers per row.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The quemitl is a garment, a ritual vestment or bib worn on the chest. The strap at the top of the quemitl may be made of leather; leather thongs were dyed red. Another example of a feather quemitl is the aztaquemitl, also made with feathers, but with the wing feathers of the white heron or egret in this case.

Some Nahua women in Mexico still today wear a blouse called a quechquemitl. The quech- part seems to refer to a garment that goes over the head or around the neck. The quechquemitl has a point in front and back, differing from the better known blouse, the huipilli. This image shows the quechquemitl on the left and the huipilli on the right, which supports the comparison.

Frances Karttunen states that when quemitl is not preceded by quech-, it is typically preceded by tla-, as in something worn. (The verb quemi, means to put something on, to wear a garment.)

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, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

quemitl, quemetl, bib, garment, feathers, cuauhtli, quauhtli

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

prenda de pecho con plumas de águila

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).