Ecatl (MH642v)

Ecatl (MH642v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Ecatl (air, breath), possibly meant as Ehecatl (divine force of wind), is attested as a man’s name here. It is shown as the head of a figure in profile, facing toward the viewer’s right. Its mouth is open, and the “lips” are large and blocky, apparently representing a device through which wind could be blown. The figure also has a thick, black, vertical line along the side of the face or head, perhaps representing a tattoo or some face paint.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The rendering of Ecatl or Ehecatl shows an intrusive "h" in the orthography at the start of the name, and perhaps a dropped "he" in the middle of the name. But, when the reduplication does not exist in the glosses for Ecatl names in this collection, we are preserving that spelling. We are recognizing the possibility of an unintentional oral abbreviation of Eheca- to Eca-. But, if the shortening of the name from Ehecatl to Ecatl is intentional, it may be a response to the edict of 1540 prohibiting the naming of Nahua children after deities, leading to a favoring of Ecatl over Ehecatl, as a kind of disguise. See Norma Angélica Castilla Palma, "Las huellas del oficio y lo sagrado en los nombres nahuas de familias y barrios de Cholula," Dimensión Antropológica v. 65 (sept.-dic. 2015), 186. Castilla also mentions how there were pressures to stop using names from the tonalpohualli, and this led to the dropping of the number that went with the day name. Such a number is absent here. So the whole result is a lessening of the sacred aspects, perhaps mainly for outsiders.

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: 

pedro . hecatl

Gloss Normalization: 

Pedro Ecatl (or Ehecatl)

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


aliento, aire, viento, deidades, fuerzas divinas, nombres de hombres

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

eca(tl), air, breath,
eheca(tl), wind, Ehecatl, divine force of wind,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Aire, Aliento, o Viento

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 642v, 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: