Cuauhtecomatlan (Mdz40r)

Cuauhtecomatlan (Mdz40r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

The compound glyph for the place name Cuauhtecomatlan features a large wooden (cuahuitl) cup (tecomatl) with a set of teeth projecting out from the side of the cup, on our right. The teeth provide the phonetic element for -tlan, the locative suffix meaning "place." The cup has a sizable bowl and a stem. The entire thing is painted a terracotta color. The teeth are uppers and lowers, and the lower ones are imbedded in a skeletal jaw, all left white. There are a few other examples in the Codex Mendoza of fleshless jaws and at least one set of teeth without any mandible (try a Quick Search for teeth).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The gloss omits a final "n" on the place name, but it might have been inadvertently omitted because the visual of the teeth suggest the locative suffix -tlan (place).

As Gordon Whittaker points out, with these protruding teeth we do not see the red gums, and the lower set of teeth are imbedded in a "fleshless mandible." [See: Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs, 2021, 101.]

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Cuauhtecomatla, 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

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

cups, vessels, teeth, dientes, copas, vasos, tazas

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

cuahui(tl), tree or wood,
tecoma(tl), vessel or cup,
, a gourd or tree that produces the gourd,
tlan(tli), tooth/teeth,
-tla (locative suffix) place of abundance of a thing,
-tlan (locative suffix), by, near, among,

Karttunen’s Interpretation: 

"Gourd Tree Place" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"By the Wooden Goblets" (Whittaker, 2021, 101); "Where There Are Many Gourd Trees" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 202)

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"Cerca de los Tecomates de Madera" o "Lugar de los Arboles con Tecomates"

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 40 recto,, image 90 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).