Ecatl (MH515v)

Ecatl (MH515v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Ecatl shows the beak and squared-off protrusion above the beak that characterize the divine force or spirit of the wind, Ehecatl. It is shown in profile facing toward the viewer's right. The lower part of the beak is short, the longer one above it is hooked downward. Thick black lines are used not only for the beak and the upper protrusion, but also for the place where these things are cut off from what would have been a bird face. There, one sees almost two vertical stripes, one white, one black.

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).

Representations of Ehecatl (associated with Quetzalcoatl) vary widely within the Matrícula de Huexotzinco, and they vary considerably from manuscript to manuscript. See some examples below. The bird-like beak appears to be a diagnostic feature of the iconography. The reduplication of the "e" in Ehecatl is typically not appearing in the glosses associated with this name in the Matrícula de Huexotzinco (MH). Further, the faces of men who have the name Ecatl (possibly intending Ehecatl) often have a thick black line on their cheeks, and this face paint does seem to be a diagnostic element in the iconography of Ehecatl, at least for this manuscript (MH).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

aol hecatl

Gloss Normalization: 

Alonso Ehecatl

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


deities, deidades, vientos, wind, picos

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

eca(tl), air-breath,
eheca(tl)/Ehecatl, wind, or the divine force of the wind,

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 515v, 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: