Ecatl (MH500v)

Ecatl (MH500v)
Simplex Glyph

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 a face in profile, looking toward the viewer's left. The lower part of the mouth is something like a beak. Next to the visible eye (which is open) are two, parallel, angled lines, which may point to a face paint or tattooing associated with the divine force or spirit of the wind, known as Ehecatl.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The gloss, as is so often the case for this manuscript, just says Ecatl. The glossator started to write "he" and then crossed it out. But one might normalize the Ecatl name as Ehecatl, which seems to be the intention. At minimum, ehecatl was a day sign in the calendar, and many children were born under that sign, so it makes sense as a name. The word ecatl exists in our dictionary as "air" or "breath." 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-.

Some glyphs for the name Ehecatl in the Matrícula de Huexotzinco show one curving line on the face, and some show two straight lines. See below. These glyphs all differ considerably from the earlier glyphs for Ehecatl that are found in the Codex Mendoza.

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: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Juan Ehecatl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

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

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

viento, deidades, deities, wind, air, breath

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

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 500v, World Digital Library,

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: