Huei Pochtlan (Mdz8r)

Huei Pochtlan (Mdz8r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This is a simplex hieroglyph for a place name, Huei Pochtlan. It shows a person's head. The hairstyle suggests it is a male, as does the "poch" (youth) element--perhaps having a similar origin as telpochtli, as pointed out by Frances Karttunen. He looks to the viewer's left. The face is primarily red, but with turquoise-blue lips and yellow hair. Horizontal black lines are painted or tattooed above and below the eye. Above the forehead is a long green feather (from a quetzalli, perhaps), a gray-brown eagle feather, and a white down feather ball. There is a turquoise ring where a necklace or collar might be, and it has small, white, pointy shapes (feathers?) hanging down off of the turquoise band.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

There was an Aztec deity with the name Opochtli ("The Left") who was associated with people who lived on the water, and he was known for fishing and hunting. The person in this glyph, if not a representation of the deity, could be a merchant. The place name has two elements, huei (for large or great) and pochtlan (merchantry). Alternately, the -tlan is the locative suffix (by or among), and the -poch- refers to youth. James Lockhart suggested that a Pochtecatl was originally just a person from Pochtlan, but the people from that community came to be famous as long distance traders. Eventually, the ethnic association with a given town gave way to an occupational label in general. [See: The Nahuas, 1992, 192.] The imagery of a very distinctive person's head would appear to have ethnic markers, such as the face and hair colors and the feathered headdress. The head in this glyph faces the opposite way from the other example we have for this place name, which may or may not have a significance.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

hueypochtlā, puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Hueipochtlan, pueblo

Gloss 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

Semantic Categories: 

markets, merchants, ethnicity, mercados, mercaderes, vendedores, pochteca, Hueypuchtlan

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

huei, great or large,
-poch, youth (see telpochtli and ichpochtli),
pochtlan, merchantry,
pochteca(tl), a long-distance merchant,
-tlan (locative suffix), place,
-tla or -tlah (locative suffix), place of abundance of item,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Place of Great Opochtli" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 188)

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 8 recto,, image 26, 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)