Huapalcalco (Mdz28r)

Huapalcalco (Mdz28r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Huapalcalco features two principal elements, a building (calli) with many, obvious wooden beams (huapal(li)], one horizontal lintel and four upright beams in the entryway. The beams have a terracotta color, and the rest of the building is black and white. The (-co) locative suffix is not shown visually, but perhaps the building provides a semantic locative. The roof designs are especially notable, even if they do not play a phonetic role in the place name. Above the door is a wide rectangle made into tiny squares with lines running horizontally and vertically. Upon or above the roof are trapezoid-like ramparts.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Perhaps because of the desire to highlight the beams, this building faces us, instead of appearing in profile the way most calli do. The ramparts on the roof are a little different from the tenantli) that are also seen on the house of song (cuicacalli) on folio 61 recto of the Codex Mendoza, but it is not certain that this is a song house in Huapalcalco. That cuicacalli has two rows of small circles below the ramparts, whereas this building has three rows of small squares. Berdan and Anawalt (1992, vol. 2, 168) point out that such designs were typically made with stucco.

In the Primeros Memoriales we learn that the upright pillars also have the name tlaquetzalli (probably from the verb, quetza, to stand) and the lintels are tlaxquitl (possibly some relation to -ixqui, the front edge of an eyelid, if Nahuas thought of the entryway as an open eye?). [See: Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, Primeros Memoriales, ed. Thelma D. Sullivan, et al. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997), 226.]

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

guapalcalco. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Huapalcalco, pueblo

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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

houses, buildings, planks, boards, beams, casas, edificios, tablones, tablas, vigas, Guapalcalco

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

"At the House of Beams" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the House of Planks" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 187)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"En la Casa de las Vigas"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 28 recto,, image 66 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, hold the original manuscript, the MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1. This image is published here under the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0).