Cuauhtemoc (MH487r)

Cuauhtemoc (MH487r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Cuauhtemoc ("He Has Descended Like an Eagle," attested here as a man’s name) shows an eagle's head in profile, facing toward the viewer's right. Its hooked beak is open, as is its visible eye. Small feathers spike off the top and back of its head. There is what may be an eyebrow, and some small lines coming down from the eye suggest tears, perhaps. Feather texturing also appears at the neck. Below the eagle's head is a bird's eye view of two descending footprints. These prints suggest the verb "to descend" (temo, and it is in the past tense, as the gloss shows). The footprints alternate, suggesting movement across a landscape or through the air.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The translation of this glyph comes from Gordon Whittaker. See an article with an interview in the Mexico News Daily from 2021.

Footprint glyphs have a wide range of translations. In this collection, so far, we can attest to yauh, xo, pano, -pan, paina, temo, nemi, quetza, otli, iyaquic hualiloti, huallauh, tetepotztoca, totoco, -tihui, and the vowel "o." Other research (Herrera et al, 2005, 64) points to additional terms, including: choloa, tlaloa, totoyoa, eco, aci, quiza, maxalihui, centlacxitl, and xocpalli.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

antonio guauhtemoc

Gloss Normalization: 

Antonio Cuauhtemoc

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huexotzinco, Matrícula de (MH)

Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Xitlali Torres

Shapes and Perspectives: 

águilas, bajar, descender, nombres famosos, nombres de hombres, nombres de gobernantes

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

A portrait of "Cuauhtemoc or Cuauhtemotzin," "Descending Eagle," the last Mexica ruler. This portrait was created from the feathers of many different birds, c. 1850. It is located in the Museo Sumaya in Mexico City. Photo by Stephanie Wood, 13 February 2023.

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

James Lockhart (The Nahuas, 1992, 120) says Cuauhtemoc is "He Descends Like an Eagle," and is a name of a tlatoani of Tenochtitlan. Cuernavaca region, 1535–1545.

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 487r, World Digital Library,

Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library; used here with the Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SAq 3.0).

Historical Contextualizing Image: