Cuauhtinchan (Mdz42r)

Cuauhtinchan (Mdz42r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Cuauhtinchan (or Cuauhtin Inchan) includes two principal elements. One is a building that is normally read "house" (calli), but in this case it is a "home" (chantli). Superimposed over the entrance to the building is the head of an eagle (cuauhtli). The building is a standard white with terracotta-colored, t-shaped beams at the entrance. The eagle has brown feathers, dark fading to light going toward the face. The beak and eye are a golden yellow.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Berdan and Anawalt note how rarely chantli appears in place names in the Codex Mendoza. The stem -chan has a third-person plural possessive "in" before it (giving possession to the eagles), thus the house is actually the home (chantli) of eagles. Gordon Whittaker {Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs, 2021, 87) proposes that "chan" is meant when the compounding element is superimposed over the building, as we see in this compound glyph. Berdan and Anawalt have also considered the positioning of the eagle's head as being influential in the reading.

Whittaker further notes the syncopation of (cua)cuauhtin (eagles, in the plural) with the plural-possession form of home, inchan, forming Cuauhtinchan, where one of the "in" syllables drops away. Because Karttunen also sees "cuauhtin" (eagles, plural) coalesced with the "inchan" in the place name, and so it is a "two-word place name." Separating the reading into two words can make it into a sentence, "It is the home of the eagles," where the verb "to be" is so often implied in early Nahuatl.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

quauahtinchan. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Cuauhtinchan, pueblo

Gloss 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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

eagles, houses, buildings, águilas, casas, edificios, hogares, posesivos, Quauhtinchan

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

"Home of the Eagles" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Home of the Eagles" (Whittaker, 2021, 87); "Home of the Eagles" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, 202)

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Cuāuhtinchān, "En la casa de las águilas"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Miguel León-Portilla, "Los nombres de lugar en náhuatl," Estudios de Cultura Náhuatl 15 (1982), 40.

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 42 recto,, image 94 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).