Cuauhtitlan (Mdz5v)

Cuauhtitlan (Mdz5v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Cuauhtitlan has two obvious components, the cuahuitl, whose stem is -cuauh, tree, and the tlantli (teeth), the phonetic indicator for the locative suffix, -tlan, meaning by, near, or among. The ligature -ti- does not appear visually. The cuahuitl has the standard shape and colors, with a leader and two side branches, two-tone green foliage, and bark the color of terracotta. The curling red roots are showing. The teeth consist of both uppers and lowers, and they are imbedded in the tree trunk, facing to the viewer's left.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The Codex Mendoza has two additional representations of Cuauhtitlan, both involving trees with teeth. One is much like this one (on 3 verso), and the other (26 recto) has an additional element, a head that appears to be attached to one of the tree branches. Frances Berdan and Patricia Anawalt suggest that the head represents "the black and white mask of the goddess Tlazolteotl ('Filth-Deity')," with its "cotton headband with two cotton fillets, a diagnostic characteristic of this goddess (see the Codex Borbonicus 1974:13)." Perhaps the latter town had a special association with that divinity.

Gordon Whittaker asserts that the full set of teeth is more often used when the locative includes the ligature (-ti-), resulting in -titlan. This example supports the case. Advanced searches for glyphs ending in -tlan and ending in -titlan will provide data showing a somewhat mixed result, but there is a tendency toward what Whittaker suggests.

It is worth noting that this place name uses the -titlan postposition on the stem that once had the -tl absolutive (cuahuitl, tree). Whereas, the place name Cuauhtlan uses the -tlan postposition on the stem that once had the -tli absolutive (cuauhtli, eagle).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

quauhtitlan / puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Cuauhtitlan, 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

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

trees, teeth, place, árboles, dientes, visible roots, raíces visibles, Quauhtitlan

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

"Below the Trees" or "Among the Trees" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.] Elsewhere she also suggested "Adjacent to Woodland." See her book, An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), 64.

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Near the Trees" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 202)

Image Source: 
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).