ilhuia (TiraP/eg2)

ilhuia (TiraP/eg2)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example shows speech scrolls emerging from several priests toward a sacred bundle. The contextualizing image shows even more priests, a circle of six men surrounding the bundle. Crucially, two scrolls with the curls, facing different directions, emerge from the sacred bundle which contains the deity Huitzilopochtli. The anthropomorphic head of the deity emerges from the open beak of the diagnostic sign of the hummingbird (huitzilin). In turn, the head of the hummingbird is showing at the top of the sacred bundle, and it is located on the left (opochtli). Note how the men have tears running down their cheeks (where the artist employs the atl sign for water).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This emotional conversation took place as part of the story of the legendary migration from Aztlan, as shown in the Tira de la Peregrinación (TP) or Codex Boturini. James Maffie (personal communication, 1/24/2023) shared this example with me, explaining how people and deities conversed. Hence, I am giving this record the title ilhuia, the verb to consult with oneself or with another. The implication is that Huitzilopochtli is giving the group some council about leaving Aztlan. For more information see: Patrick Johansson K., "Tira de la Peregrinación," Arqueología Mexicana Special Issue no. 26 (December 2007). See also Mexicolore's piece on this codex, with a video featuring the work of Gilbert Estrada (2002).

Speech scrolls emerge in various forms, representing human conversations and songs, deities' counsel, and animal sounds. A bell (coyolli) in this collection emits sound scrolls at its base. Perhaps it is a counseling wind that emerges from the mouth of Ehecatl in the Codex Quetzalecatzin. Opposing speech scrolls captured in book form (tlacuilolli) suggest a two-way conversation or orality in written form (as suggested by Maffie and Mikulska). Trees emit speech scrolls, but those are meant as rebuses (nahuatl, language, for -nahuac, nearby), employing homophonic pairings. This database will be tracking the variety of scrolls, which, in their swirling, also represent a movement of sound.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 

Between 1530 and 1541

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 


Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


speech scrolls, volutas, deidades, deities, consultas, conversación, lágrimas

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


Image Source: 

María Castañeda de la Paz, "La Tira de la Peregrinación y la ascendencia Chichimeca de los Tenochca," Estudios de Cultural Náhuatl 38 (2009).

Image Source, Rights: 

We are reproducing less than 10% of the material in the source article. Furthermore, the original manuscript is of a date that falls outside of copyright.

Historical Contextualizing Image: