huehuetl (Mdz28r)

huehuetl (Mdz28r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Tehuehuec. It is an upright drum (huehuetl) probably made of wood even though the wavy bands of terracotta and purple colors suggest stone. The stone here points to the Te- of the place name, and it does not mean to convey that this particular type of drum was carved from stone. The top of the drum has a jaguar skin covering. The bottom has stepped-shape cutouts, which provide the (typically three) legs for the drum.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This percussion instrument could be struck with the human hand or with a mallet. Here is a website that provides considerable information about the drum, including photographs of surviving huehuetl and images from codices.

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 & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

drums, atabales, huehuetes, tambores, madera, vertical

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el atabal

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Alonso de Molina

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).