Cuauhtecomatzinco (Mdz40r)

Cuauhtecomatzinco (Mdz40r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This sign for the place name Cuauhtecomatzinco has three visual elements within the compound: cuauh- from cuahuitl (trees, woods, or wooden), tecomatl) (cup), and tzintli (bottom or buttocks, but serving here as a probable diminutive, little/lower or new, spin-off community. The -co (locative) is not presented visually. The tecomatl is upright, with a stem and a bowl above that. It has a terracotta color, which could indicate either wood or clay. Coming out of the cup is an abbreviated representation of a tree with one leader and two-tone green foliage attached to that. The trunk has the diagonal, parallel, black lines—one thin and one thick—that are characteristic of the cuahuitl in so many glyphs in the Codex Mendoza. The stub of a branch seems to come out on the side of the tree, from the rights side in the viewer's perspective. To the left of the cup is the half-body of a male, positioned as though it is facing toward and up against the cup. It is largely naked and painted a terracotta color, except for the white waistband of the otherwise invisible loincloth. Typically the knees are bent and held up against the torso, drawing attention to the buttocks.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Frances Berdan caught that the tree and cup, described above, actually form a compound word that can be found in dictionaries, the cuauhtecomatl, which is a tree that bears gourds. Thus, the original town name would have referred to the gourds or the tree that produced them. The -tzin- and the locative -co combine to form a common suffix for place names, and the result from the point of view of Gordon Whittaker is "At the Little" or "At the Lower," while Frances Karttunen points to a spin-off community, "New Cuauhtecomatlan" or "New Cuauhtecomatlah."

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

macinco puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Cuauhtecomatzinco, 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): 

little, lower, butts, buttocks, rear end, bottom, nalgas, trasero, cups, tazas, vasos, copas, trees, árboles, Quauhtecomacingo, Quauhtecomatzingo, Quauhtecomaçingo

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

"New Cuauhtecomatla" or "New Cuauhtecomatlan" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the Little Gourd Tree" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 201)

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).