cuicacalli (Mdz61r)

cuicacalli (Mdz61r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This colorful simplex glyph example is provided as a comparison with the calli glyph and other buildings in this collection. It also provides a context for the location where songs were learned. The building is glossed "cuicacali" (cuicacalli), which ensures our reading of "song house." It has four stepped, trapezoidal ramparts on the roof. Below that are two rows of small circles, 22 in all. The building is white, with the exception of the terracotta-colored (probably wooden) T-shaped doorway and, at the bottom of the vertical door beam, we find colored horizontal stripes in dark turquoise blue, red, dark green, yellow, and sky blue. The contextualizing image shows a teacher (teachcauh / maes[tr]o) sitting in front of the building. He is seated on a petlatl (woven mat), he wears a white cape with red trim (and the cape has some lavender shading, giving it three dimensionality). His hair is long with a bound ponytail and two white (heron?) feathers at the back of his head. We also see a waist band for a loincloth.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This house of song is very similar to the calmecac (school) that appears just above it on the page (not shown in our historical contextualizing image, so it must be viewed on the original page). The main difference consists of the decorations that appear on the roof of the buildings, which are stepped ramparts for the cuicacalli and shell shapes for the calmecac. Another minor difference is that the calmecac has one additional red stripe on the door frame. In some comparative examples below, the tenamitl crenellations appear.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

casa dondi criaban y enseñavan a los moços

Gloss Normalization: 

casa donde criaban y enseñaban a los mozos

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

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


houses of song, song houses, houses, buildings, architecture, casas, edificios, arquitectura, casas de canciones, escuelas de música

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la casa de música, la casa de la canción

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 61 recto,, image 132 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: