Cuezalcuitlapilla (Mdz13v)

Cuezalcuitlapilla (Mdz13v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This simplex glyph for the place name Cuezalcuitlapilla shows a group of scarlet macaw (cuezalin) tail feathers (cuitlapilli). The cluster of feathers hangs withe the points down and a little fringe across the top. The slightly curvy feathers are a bright red with turquoise blue tips. The locative suffix, -tla (which, when combined with a final l in the stem cuitlapil, becomes -la, and if we were to show the glottal stop, we might write it -tlah) is not shown visually.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

One wonders whether the fringe at the top of the feathers suggests that they have been basted together, implying the verb cueza, a possibly phonetic reinforcement for cuezalli. The gloss does not show a final "n" to the place name, which suggests the locative -tla (place of abundance of) and not -tlan (place of). These precious feathers had an association with fire, and therefore the deity of fire, as well as the divinity associated with death. See: Alfredo López Austin, Los mitos del tlacuache: caminos de la mitología mesoamericana (1996), 194. An example of an element for fire (tletl) appears below, right, as do two other examples of feathers from the scarlet macaw.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

cueçalcuitlapila. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Cuezalcuitlapillan, 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: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


plumage, feathers, birds, fire, death, plumas, pájaros, fuego, muerte

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

cueza, to baste parts of a garment together,
cuezal(in), feathers of the scarlet macaw,
cuitlapil(li), a bird's tail,
-tla (locative suffix), place of abundance of,

Karttunen’s Interpretation: 

"Where There Are Many Scarlet Macaw Tail Feathers" (apparently agreeing with Berdan and Anawalt) [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Where There Are Many Scarlet Macaw Tail Feathers" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 182)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"El Lugar con Muchas Plumas del Guacamayo Macao"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 verso,, image 37 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).