cuica (Mdz63r)

cuica (Mdz63r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example is meant to provide a comparison to glyphs relating to singing and song. We have zoomed in on the head of the singer (cuicani), facing to our right, who sings (cuica) while he is also holding two instruments that he is using to beat on the horizontal drum called a teponaztli. Three turquoise-colored speech scrolls emerge from his mouth. In the fuller, contextualizing image, he is wearing a white cape tied at his shoulder. It has lavender shading that gives it three-dimensionality. He sits on a petlatl (woven mat). His long hair is pulled back and tied. We see red paint at the site of his ear. His skin tone is lavender or purple. The teponaztli shows the same wood grain as is visiable in the huehuetl (vertical drum) in the iconographic example we show below, right. The teponaztli sits on a red ring (yahualli), of the type also seen holding up a ceramic jug, below right.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content & Iconography: 

sing, singing, song, drumming, canta, cantar, canción, canciones, el tambor, el tamborileo, la batería, scrolls

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

Codex Mendoza, folio 63 recto,, image 136 out of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

Original manuscript is held by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1; used here with the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Historical Contextualizing Image: