Cuezaloztoc (Mdz10v)

Cuezaloztoc (Mdz10v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Cuezaloztoc consists of two prominent elements, some scarlet macaw feathers (cuezalli) and a cave (ozto(tl)). The locative suffix (-c) is not shown visually. The feathers protrude out of the mouth of the cave, which is shown as an earth monster in frontal view. There are four feathers, coming down from the cave's mouth, and they are entirely red. The monster is a head only, primarily colored green (akin to a tepetl, hill or mountain), and it has rocky outcroppings (also like the tepetl) on the sides of the jaw. White teeth are visible in the mouth of the monster, on both sides and above the feathers. The gums are red. The outline of the mouth is yellow. The yellow eyes are open and the eyebrows are turquoise blue.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The locative suffix -c could be implied in the landscape features of the cave. These precious feathers had an association with fire, 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. In the Florentine Codex, caves were seen as the place of the dead, which fits with the interpretation of the scarlet macaw feathers. See Carolyn E. Boyd, Rock Art of the Lower Pecos (2003), 50. The red and yellow colors on the mouth of the cave are reminiscent of the coloring of interiors. The shape, curly edges, and two-tone green coloring of the monster's head recall the tepetl (hill/mountain), underlying the landscape associations of caves.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

cueçaloztoc. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Cuezaloztoc, 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: 
Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 
Reading Order, Notes: 

The feathers appear here in a way that recalls a tongue for the earth monster. Thus, the reading order might best be described as merged or internal.


bird, birds, feather, feathers, cave, caves, mouths, earth monsters

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

"Scarlet Macaw Feather Cave" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"In the Cave of the Scarlet Macaw Feathers" or "In the Precious Cave" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 182))

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 10 verso,, image 31 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).