cuitlatl (Mdz39r)

cuitlatl (Mdz39r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

Outlined in black and painted yellow, this sign for cuitlatl), excrement, includes two curling pieces of excrement, dropping down from some higher location. It has been carved from the place name for Acuitlapan.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This sample could be human or animal excrement, but in Nahuatl there is also a word that specifically refers to human excrement: tlacacuitlatl, as found in Book 10 of the Florentine Codex. The online Nahuatl dictionary entry for cuitlatl provides a number of attestations of this word in sixteenth-century sources, many of which might point more to excretion than excrement. A heart could be fashioned from cuitlatl and whippoorwill feathers. A father rubbed his child's excretion (saliva?) around his eyes. A ruler could be elevated from excrement to the distinguished woven mat of leadership.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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

SVG of Glyph: 
SVG Image, Credit: 

David Elliott made the SVG.


excrement, excretion, residue, excreción, excreciones, excretions

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

cuitla(tl), excrement, excretion, or excrescence,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el excremento, la mierda

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
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).