ihuitl (Mdz57r)

ihuitl (Mdz57r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This example of iconography from the Codex Mendoza shows a feather (which we have labeled ihuitl, despite the lack of a gloss for it in Nahuatl) colored red. It is presented in a frontal view, at an angle, leaning slightly to the viewer's left. The vane is red and the downy barbs are left natural/white.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The context shows that the red feather was part of a group of "insignias." Laura Filloy Nadal and María Olvido Moreno Guzmán, in their essay in Mesoamerican Manuscripts (2018, p. XVI) explain that these insignia refer to "carpenters (cuahxinque), featherworkers (amanteca), painters tlacuiloque), and goldsmiths (teocuitlahuaque)." This red feather is therefore the insignia here of the featherworkers.

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 & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

This stone carving of a large number of feathers (ihuitl) retains some of the original red colorant, underscoring the preciosity of red feathers. Photo shot at the museum at the archaeological site of Tenayuca by Stephanie Wood, 13 August 2023.

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

la pluma

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 57 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 124 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: