ilhuicatl (Mdz7v)

ilhuicatl (Mdz7v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for a sky band (ilhuicatl) has been carved from the person name Ilhuicamina. This horizontal sky band has multiple layers. At the top is a row with a turquoise blue background and nine small white circles. Descending, there is a yellow stripe and then a green stripe. Next is a segmented red stripe. At the middle of this red stripe, and extending into the lowest band of turquoise blue, is a figure that may suggest a sleeping sun--an eye, a shape resembling the container with curling ends that could contain water (see atl, below), and two rays pointing downward. Also extending into the bottom turquoise band are two more typical eyes (ixtli), with red lids and a white iris.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This glyph has an elaborate iconography. Perhaps turquoise blue is meant to convey the blue sky. The white circles may be stars--not the starry eyes, but the citlalin as shown on the glyph for Citlaltepec. The Tetlacuilolli digital collection suggests that the curling container for the eye in the lower middle of the glyph, which we suggests resembles a water container or apantli, is similar to the nose ornament of Tlaloc. Further analysis will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, compare this sky band to the arching sign for the sky in the name Ilhuicaxochitl from the Matrícula de Huexotzinco, below. The edge of the large, circular sun stone in Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology has a sky band much like this as demonstrated in David Stuart's book, King and Cosmos: An Interpretation of the Aztec Calendar Stone, 2021, p. 33.

Ian Mursell, Mexicolore, has a study of the "sky band" similar to the one shown here, but the one he examines in detail is from the Codex Borbonicus from the early sixteenth century.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


skies, heavens, cielos, stars, estrelas, eyes, ojos

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

el cielo

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)