Ecatl (MH661v)

Ecatl (MH661v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Ecatl (“Air,” “Breath,” or the deity of wind, “Ehecatl”) shows the head of what may be a man in the guise of a deity. His head is extremely pointed, his lips and nose are pointed (creating something like a "beak" effect), and his face is striped/tattooed.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The man with this name is a centecpanpixqui, a guardian over twenty tribute payers, which is suggested by the flag in the middle of the gloss. It is sometimes the case, such as here, that a wife is shown with the guardian. She is not named.

For him, the gloss gives "Ecatl," but the visuals suggest "Ehecatl." A great many glyphs in this collection start with Eca- when Ehecatl is expected, given the iconography. We are recognizing the possibility of an unintentional oral abbreviation of Eheca- to Eca-. But, if the shortening of the name is intentional, it may be a response to the edict of 1540 prohibiting the naming of Nahua children after deities that led 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: 

Dionisio. Ecatl

Gloss Normalization: 

Dionisio Ecatl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


wind, viento, deidades, deities, divine forces, fuerzas divinas, máscaras, masks, aliento, aire, nombres de hombres, nombres de deidades, nombres de días

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

eca(tl), breath, air, or a short version of Ehecatl,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Aire, Aliento, o Ehecatl, deidad del viento)

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 661v, 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: