Ilhuicamina (Mdz7v)

Ilhuicamina (Mdz7v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the personal name [Huehue Motecuhzoma] Ilhuicamina shows a horizontal rectangle (in with various details and in multiple colors) being pierced from below by an arrow. The rectangle has the iconography of a band of sky (ilhuicatl). To shoot an arrow (mina) is what the arrow piercing the sky implies.

The details of the multilayered sky band include, at the top level, a horizontal band of turquoise blue that contains a row of small white circles. Below that, a yellow horizontal stripe and a green stripe precede a red, segmented band. Two red and white eyes hang down from the red band penetrating another horizontal turquoise band, and in between the eyes is a white symbol with two segmented points. The arrow is much like the mitl one will find elsewhere in this collection, made from a yellow and red reed and decorated with down feathers in gray and white.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Eyes in the sky can have the meaning of "stars," as can be seen in the glyph for yohualli (night), below (right). Stars in hieroglyphs can also resemble the white circles at the top of the band, as seen below in the example of citlalli (stars). The pointed part at the bottom of the sky band is somewhat reminiscent of the sun (tonatiuh) and divinity (teotl), again below (right), although that iconography shows many colors.

In the Tovar Codex, the bottom of the sky band has turbinate shells and water droplets (like those that splash off water). The Primeros Memoriales (folio 51 recto) has a multi-colored sky band with three eyes coming off the bottom.

The Codex Telleriano-Remensis (folio 31 verso) shows only the turquoise diadem as the glyph for Motecuhzoma Ilhuicamina, according to Berdan and Anawalt. The Codex Cozcatzin has the diadem being pierced by an arrow. So, this glyph could vary.

The name "Ilhuicamina" points to Motecuhzoma the Elder (Huehue Motecuhzoma), which the gloss clarifies. The Huehue part refers to him as the Elder. The name Motecuhzoma also includes an element indicating that he was a tecuhtli, a lord. He governed Mexico from 1440 to 1469. The interpretation by Berdan and Anawalt below (right), points out that he was known as the "Archer of the Skies."

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

rulers, gobernantes, arrows, flechas, skies, cielos, stars, estrellas

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 

ilhuica(tl), sky band, celestial realm, heaven,
mina, to shoot (an arrow),

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Angry Lord, The Elder" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 233; they add that the full name is "Great Angry Lord, Archer of the Skies." They note that Clark (1938 1:32) suggests "Courageous" in lieu of Angry

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 7 verso,, image 25, 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: