huapalli (Mdz28r)

huapalli (Mdz28r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound gyph for the place name, Huapalcalco. The beams (huapalli) of the building (calli) are revealed in the full compound glyph, which makes separating them a challenge. But here they are seen as four upright posts and one horizontal beam (or lintel), painted orange, the color used for wooden things in the Codex Mendoza.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

While the boards or beams (huapalli) can be separated out from the compound huapalcalli, this compound term is also attested in the Florentine Codex, where it is translated by Anderson and Dibble as a "house of beams." (See our online dictionary, cited herein.) In that dictionary, we also see uses of huapalli for grain bins and as structures for sleeping.

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

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


plank, planks, board, boards, beam, beams, wood, buildings, architecture, edificios, arquitectura

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

huapal(li), plank, board, small beam,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

plank, board, or small beam

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

tablón, tabla o viga pequeña

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).