Cuezalcatl (MH513v)

Cuezalcatl (MH513v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the personal or ethnic name Cuezalcatl (here, attested as a man's name) features three scarlet macaw (cuezalin) feathers curving slightly toward the viewer's right and standing on the roof of a house or building with a frontal view. The house (calli) has red wooden beams across the top of the entryway and along the sides. The upright feathers on the roof are somewhat reminiscent of other types of roof decoration, such as the tenamitl (akin to crenelation) (see below).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The building (calli) may be a part of the glyph with the intention to convey the suffix -catl, which points to the person's affiliation with a place. If so, it would be a rebus, "where the sound value of the logogram is used to evoke the same sound with a different meaning," in the words of Alfonso Lacadena (2008a, 2). Gordon Whittaker (2009a, 56) adds: "a morphogram ceases to be such when used in a rebus construction--it is a phonogram in this context."

To the Nahuas, these feathers symbolized flames and fire. Thelma Sullivan, cited in our dictionary (in the reference elsewhere in this record), noted that Cuezaltzin (with the reverential ending) was one of the names of Xiuhtecutli, "God of Fire." Alfredo López Austin has also noted that Cuezalin was the name of a deity associated with death. See: Los mitos del tlacuache (1996), p. 194. These particular macaw feathers do not have blue tips, which some other examples in this collection do have.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

gafiliel cueçalcatl

Gloss Normalization: 

Gabriel Cuezalcatl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood and Stephanie Wood

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

red, rojo, feathers, plumas

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

cuezal(in), scarlet macaw feathers,
-ca(tl), affiliation or association with,

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 513v, 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: