huitztli (Mdz59r)

huitztli (Mdz59r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example of maguey thorns (what we are calling huitztli, based on the Spanish gloss) is included here for the purpose of making comparisons with other thorns and their uses in hieroglyphs and glyphic elements. These maguey thorns are a group of three. They are horizontal, with the points facing to the right. The other ends are blunt. The huitztli are painted green.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Maguey thorns in this context were used for piercing people as part of a punishment. The contextualizing image shows that a mother is punishing her daughter. Self-sacrificial bloodletting (a religious act) could possibly be done with thorns, but also with arrows and sharpened bones. That the maguey points could be used for bloodletting is suggested by the coloring of the maguey plant (metl) in the Codex Mendoza folio 10 verso--in such a way that it matches what appears to be the blood-tipped maguey thorns from the same manuscript. See examples below.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

puas di maguey

Gloss Normalization: 

puas de maguey

Gloss 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

Shapes and Perspectives: 

espinas, puas, magueyes, castigos

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

la espina de maguey

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 59 recto,, image 128 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)

Historical Contextualizing Image: