Ecatl Icuapechco (Mdz12r)

Ecatl Icuapechco (Mdz12r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Ecatl Icuapechco (or Ehecatl Icuapechco) has two visual elements, a wooden structure and, on this structure, a representation of the head of the divine force associated with the wind (Ehecatl), which is also a day sign in the calendar. The structure has a wide wooden plank and two short wooden supports (at least only two are visible), all painted a terracotta color (often used for wood or ceramics). The head of the deity is in profile, looking to the viewer's left. Its beak (or what some sources describe as a duck bill, but what Nahuas apparently perceived to be a blowing device) and snout are red. Above the eye is something resembling an eyebrow, painted turquoise blue, and curling at the end, down low, next to the corner of the mouth. There is another protrusion below the mouth in a dark gray or purple.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The gloss gives "Ecatl," but the visuals suggest "Ehecatl." This is a recurring phenomenon across the glyphs from many manuscripts. Perhaps the reduplication was barely noticeable in spoken speech.

The wooden structure included in this glyph appears much like the tlapechtli that occurs elsewhere in the Codex Mendoza (see the example, below and to the right). The cuapechtli, possibly a head support, or cuauhpechtli, a wooden support, could be indicated, but these terms have yet to be attested elsewhere. The i- before cuapechco is a possessive prefix that gives the possession of the support structure to Ecatl (air, breath) or Ehecatl (wind, or divine force of the wind). In other words, it is a support (altar?) made for the purpose of displaying a representation of his head, apparently. Karttunen supports the reading\, and therefore gives "bed, sleeping platform" for the cuapechtli. She concurs that the locative suffix (-co) is not shown visually in this compound glyph.

To consider the possible visual representation of a possessive pronoun, the head of Ehecatl is slightly superimposed over the cuapechtli, which could support possession if we consider what Whittaker says about Cuauhtinchan.

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).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

Ecatlyquapechco. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Ehecatl Icuapechco, pueblo

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

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

deities, divinities, divinidades, fuerzas divinas, deidades, dioses, winds, vientos, platforms, plataformas, beds, camas, pillows, almohadas

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

This late post-Classic (c. 1250–1521) Mexica figurine of Ehecatl, the divine force of the wind, has an association with the ball game at Tula ("Juego de Pelota II") at Tula, Hidalgo. It is on display at the Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City. The signage refers to the "máscara en forma de pico de ave" (mask in the form of a bird beak), a curved weapon, and a shield, all suggesting a military role. Photo by Stephanie Wood, 17 Feb. 2024.

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

Eheca(tl), a deity name, associated with the wind,
i- (possessive prefix),
tlapech(tli), wooden support or platform,
-cua-, of or relating to the head,
-co (locative suffix),

Karttunen’s Interpretation: 

"Pillow of the Wind" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On Ehecatl's Wooden Platform" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 186)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"La Almohada del Viento" o "El Plataforma de Ehecatl"

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 12 recto,, image 34 of 188.

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).