huacalli (Mdz70r)

huacalli (Mdz70r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic element shows a rectangular container made of a woven material much like the woven mats called "petates" in Mexican Spanish (petlatl, in Nahuatl). This basket-like container also has a strap for carrying it, perhaps over the shoulder or across the forehead. On the page from which this example comes, the basket is paired with a coa (digging stick, huictli in Nahuatl) and placed in front of a young man in tears and with his head bowed. He is being talked to by an official, a type of supervisor of public works, according to the glosses (petlacalcatl, mayordomo).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Perhaps the young man is upset because he will have to perform public service as punishment for a crime. The public works seem to have something to do with agriculture, given that in our online dictionary we see that a huacalli could be used for carrying maize, and the basket is paired with an agricultural digging stick.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Shapes and Perspectives: 

baskets, containers, canastas, huacales

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

huacal(li), here, a container for carrying maize,

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 37 recto,, image 150 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

Original manuscript is held by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1; used here with the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Historical Contextualizing Image: