itztli (Mdz16r)

itztli (Mdz16r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound sign for the place name Itztepec. It has a marquise (pointed oval) shape. The interior is black, and the external edge is white (although outlined in black).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This blade or knife could also be called a tecpatl, which was a calendrical symbol and a tool used in sacrificial acts. The name Itztli was associated with a divinity connected to sacrificial offerings. Both knives could be personified, with added faces, however this particular example is not personified. See the example from folio 42 recto, which has teeth. Mexicolore has published examples of personified knives.

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

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

itztli. This obsidian blade is on display at the Museo del Templo Mayor. Photograph by Stephanie Wood, 15 February 2023; this commentary by Robert Haskett.

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

obsidian blade

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el pedernal

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 16 recto,, image 42 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, hold the original manuscript, the MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1. This image is published here under the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0).