huilotl (Mdz15v)

huilotl (Mdz15v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element of a mourning dove (huilotl) (Zenaida Macroura) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Huilotepec. The element is a fairly realistic drawing of a light-colored bird. Its breast is white and its back is a light purple. The small amount of green on its feet and legs are remnants from the green hill (tepetl) that was cut away to create a separate entry for this logogram.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Found in both rural and urban settings, this bird is said to be common in the woods of Milpa Alta, according to Gerardo del Olmo Linares and ‎Emilio Roldán V., Aves comunes de la ciudad de México (2007), 61. It apparently has a cry that sounds something like its name would be pronounced. This bird is mentioned in the Florentine Codex, so it was in the Nahua consciousness in the sixteenth century. Birds were greatly prized, in general. Aztec leaders had aviaries where they kept birds, birds and feathers were paid as tributes in kind.

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


birds, doves, pigeons

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

mourning dove

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

huilota común o paloma huilota

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 15 verso,, image 41 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).