cuezalcuitlapilli (Mdz13v)

cuezalcuitlapilli (Mdz13v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This simplex glyph stands for the place name, Cuezalcuitlapilan. The locative suffix is not represented visually, but the principal component consists of the tail feathers of the scarlet macaw. The feathers hang down, seeming bound at the top, where some smaller feathers also appear.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The verb cueza means to baste a garment together, which may be what is coming into play here where the feathers are bound together at the top. But cueza(lin), the wing or tail feathers of the scarlet macaw, is also a relevant component of this term. The cuitlapilli part refers to a bird's tail. The feathers of this glyph are bright red with turquoise blue tips, fitting for the scarlet macaw, whose feathers were likened to flames, and therefore the deity of fire, as well as the deity associated with death. See: Alfredo López Austin, Los mitos del tlacuache: caminos de la mitología mesoamericana (1996), 194.Some scarlet macaw tail feathers do have blue tips, as can be seen in this photo.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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

Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


flame, flames, fire, bird, birds, feathers

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

cueza, to baste together parts of a garment,
cuezal(in), tail and wing feathers of the scarlet macaw,
cuitlapil(l), tail, bird's tail,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

tail feathers of the red or scarlet macaw

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

las plumas de la cola del guacamayo escarlata

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).