huictli (Mdz64r)

huictli (Mdz64r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This farmer's digging stick (huictli) is an example of iconography included here with the intention of providing a comparison to glyphs of the same tool. The gloss for this tool is "coa," perhaps a Spanish corruption of the word for wood (cuahuitl) or an abbreviation for coatl (serpent), given its shape. Another agricultural tool, the axoquen, can have a serpent's head on the handle (see below).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This huictli has two hash marks that are reminiscent of the lines on corn cobs (cintli) and tortillas (tlaxcalli); perhaps that is because this tool is used in planting or weeding maize. For more information about the huictli, see images with explanations in Mexicolore and an additional article about it in the same digital collection.

Added 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

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


agricultura, herramienta, agricultural tools

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

Huictli, photographed at the Templo Mayor by Stephanie Wood, 15 February 2023.

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

el coa, una herramienta agrícola

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 64 recto,, image 138 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)