Ecatl (CQ)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for wind or the wind divinity/deity sacred force (Ehecatl) shows the head of what appears to be a bird, shown in profile, looking to the viewer's right. It has a complicated beak (or what some sources describe as a duck bill, but which the Nahuas apparently perceived as a wind-blowing device) with two pointed parts at the top, one natural/white and one red, above the hooked upper beak. Emerging from the bird's open mouth are what appear to be three curling speech scrolls, also natural or white, perhaps representing air/breath (ecatl) or wind (ehecatl).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This element comes from a compound meaning, perhaps, "The watering hole where Ehecatl customarily stands." The gloss for that place name or toponym only says "Ecatl," perhaps referring to air or breath, but the representation of air (or wind) has more of the iconography of the deity/divine force(s). Importantly, wind is also a day sign in the calendar. Compare to other material in this database (below, right).

Gabrielle Vail and ‚ÄéChristine Hern√°ndez (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).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

covers ruling men and women of Tecamachalco through 1593

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

southern Puebla state

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Other Cultural Influences: 

winds, deities, divinities, deidades, fuerzas sagradas, divinidades, viento, aires

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

el viento, o Ehecatl, la deidad del viento

Image Source: 

The Codex Quetzalecatzin, aka Mapa de Ecatepec-Huitziltepec, Codex Ehecatepec-Huitziltepec, or Charles Ratton Codex. Library of Congress.

Image Source, Rights: 

The Library of Congress, current custodian of this pictorial Mexican manuscript, hosts a digital version on line. It is not copyright protected.

Historical Contextualizing Image: