Ecapapalotl (MH566v)

Ecapapalotl (MH566v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound glyph for the personal name Ecapapalotl (“Air-Butterfly,” attested here as a man’s name) shows a profile view of a butterfly (papalotl), facing toward the viewer's right. The butterfly has two wings and a thick body. Attached to the head is an Ehecatl (deity or divine force of the wind) mask.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Gabrielle Vail and ‎Christine Hernández (Re-Creating Primordial Time, 2013, ) describe Ehecatl as the wind aspect of Quetzalcoatl, and they note that Ehecatl "wears a buccal (duck) mask through which to blow wind." That the "beak" may have been perceived as a blowing device is supported by the glyph for Pitztli (below).

Ecatl (air, breath) is a word of its own, but it is also used sometimes as a short version of Ehecatl, with the reduplication of the first syllable, which changes it to "wind." A great many glyphs in this collection start with Eca- when one might expect Eheca-. We are preserving the proclivity of the gloss for Eca-, while also pointing to the likelihood of an unintentional oral abbreviation of Eheca- to Eca-.

Butterflies are significant in Nahua culture. There were butterfly songs, butterflies flew down from the top of the pole in the Volador event. Butterfly wing movement was equated with the patting of corn dough into tortillas. Obsidian was carved into butterflies. Capes had butterfly designs. See our Online Nahuatl Dictionary.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

franco Ecapapalotl

Gloss Normalization: 

Francisco Ecapapalotl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

butterflies, mariposas, wind, viento, deidades, deities, divine forces, fuerzas divinas, aire, aliento

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

eca(tl), breath, air,
Ehecatl, wind, or the divine force of the wind, a deity,
papalo(tl), butterfly,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Aire o Viento-Mariposa

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library; used here with the Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SAq 3.0).

Historical Contextualizing Image: