cuechtli (Mdz67r)

cuechtli (Mdz67r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for cuechtli, a long spiral-shaped shell, has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Teocuitlaacuechcozcatl. In this example, the shell is upright, standing on its tip or point. It is drawn in black ink, and the shell itself is white. Simple lines convey curvatures, and one gives the idea of a coil or snail shape.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

In our dictionary, Molina gives "cierto caracol largo," or a certain long spiraling shell. In Spanish, caracol can refer to a snail, a seashell, or a conch. The Gran Diccionario del Náhuatl also cites Molina's translation, but it additionally gives "cascabel de serpiente," or the rattle on a snake, The fact that the context for this shell shows seven of them that have been made into a necklace suggests that this is not a notably long shell and nowhere near the size of a conch, which was used as a trumpet of sorts. It is more the size of the cilin.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City



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

cuech(tli), a long spiral-shaped shell,

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 67 recto,, image 144 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).