Ecatl (MH591r)

Ecatl (MH591r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Ecatl (“Air," "Breath," or the name "Ehecatl,” shared by the divine force or spirit of the wind). The name attested here is a man’s. It shows the head of an anthropomorphic figure looking toward the viewer's right. He has a beak-like mouth that is open, an eye that is open, and a thick, black, vertical stripe on his cheek.

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-. Ehecatl was a day sign in the tonalpohualli, or 260-day calendar. Normally, Ehecatl would have a numerical companion, but by the time of this manuscript ((1560) the numbers were dropping away, whether inadvertently or out of a desire to move away from pre-contact practices frowned-upon by the Catholic church.

Comparing this glyph with others, below, one can see the recurring face paint or tattoo of the black vertical line on the cheek and the beak-like mouth. 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: 

alunso hecatl

Gloss Normalization: 

Alonso Ecatl (or Ehecatl)

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Syntax (patterns): 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

winds, viento, deidades, divinidades, fuerzas divinas, días, tonalpohualli

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

eheca(tl), wind, or the deity or divine force of wind,
eca(tl), air, breath,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

El Aire, El Aliento, o El Viento

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
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: