Ilancueitl (TR29v)

Ilancueitl (TR29v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the personal name of a ruling woman, Ilancueitl, shows a set of upper teeth (tlantli), a skirt (cueitl), and a cord tie around the skirt with dangling organs (elli). The tying of the organs involves the verb ilpia. For other representations of organs, see below. The skirt is a typical rectangle with a design along the bottom border. The colors in this design are reminiscent of the ilhuitl (day) symbol in the Codex Mendoza.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Gordon Whittaker (2021, 47) analyzes this glyph as meaning "Old Woman's Skirt," with the first part of the name (Ilan-) meaning "an old woman's" and the second part (cueitl) meaning "skirt," a logogram. The "ilan" comes from the noun ilama. Above the skirt is a set of upper teeth (tlantli), which, as Whittaker explains, provides the phonetic values of tlan and tla, and these change to -lan and -la when preceded by an "l." He continues by explaining that the cord that is tied around the skirt has internal organs (elli), such as a liver and gallbladder. Elli is both a logogram and a phonogram that provides syllables el and il. Further, he notes, the tying of the organs brings up the verb ilpia (to tie, or bind), which provides another i-, a phonetic indicator.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood (drawing from Gordon Whittaker)

Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1550–1563

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood and Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 
Reading Order, Notes: 

The reading starts with ilpia and elli, then upward to the tlantli, and back down to the cueitl. (See the explanation from Whittaker 2021, 47.)


skirts, faldas, hígados, livers, teeth, dientes, ropes, mecates, cordones,

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

La Falda de la Anciana

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Telleriano-Remensis Codex, folio 29 recto, MS Mexicain 385, Gallica digital collection,

Image Source, Rights: 

The non-commercial reuse of images from the Bibliothèque nationale de France is free as long as the user is in compliance with the legislation in force and provides the citation: “Source / Bibliothèque nationale de France” or “Source / BnF.”

Historical Contextualizing Image: