Ecatl (MH499r)

Ecatl (MH499r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Ecatl (here, attested as a man’s name) shows the head of a figure in profile, looking toward the viewer's right. It appears to have a large beak, which is wide open. Above that is a more blunt protrusion. It also has one dot for an eye. This figure recalls the mask of Ehecatl, the spirit or divine force of the wind.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The gloss gives "Ecatl," but the visuals suggest "Ehecatl." 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-.

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).

The iconography suggests that Ehecatl is intended. Ehecatl is a noun in Nahuatl that means wind, and the word was also a proper name for the deity of the wind. In turn this deity was an aspect of the creator (with Quetzalcoatl associations) and with the night. This representation of Ehecatl (which was also a name borne by some humans, given that it was a day sign in the calendar), was apparently how humans saw the deity associated with the wind. The second sun on the Aztec sun stone has a much more elaborate representation of the wind; this epoch was ruled by Quetzalcoatl. The second sun was destroyed by hurricanes and the people were turned into monkeys. For other images of Ehecatl and more information about his shape and that of Quetzalcoatl, see Mexicolore. One of the pre-Columbian statues devoted to the wind gives him a monkey's body but the same buccal mask (large point above the mouth or beak) as we see in this glyph.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

matheo
ecatl

Gloss Normalization: 

Mateo Ehecatl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 

1560

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Keywords: 

viento, deidades, deities, wind, air, breath, aliento, aires

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

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 499r, World Digital Library, https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_15282/?sp=77&st=image

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: