Ixicayan (Mdz40r)

Ixicayan (Mdz40r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Ixicayan (perhaps "Natural Spring," or literally "Where Leaking is Constant") has two main elements, a green, bell-shaped hill or mountain (not part of the name, unless it serves as a type of locative) and some turquoise-blue water leaking out of the base of the mountain, emerging from its red and yellow interior access point.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This is a visual for the verb, ixica, to leak. The water, with its lines of current and turbinate shells and droplets (which some people interpret to be chalchihuites, or local jade stones) emerges from the site of the horizontal red and yellow lines that suggest the location for a mountain spring. Together, water (atl) and mountain (tepetl) form the word altepetl, which means town or a socio-political unit. This has the potential to be applicable in any number of representations for place names, as a visual and silent locative in the form of a tepetl can be serving as what Whittaker would call a "semantic complement." These same yellow and red lines also appear where water emerges from the top of an arm, at the shoulder (acolli), in the compound glyph for Acolhuacan (see below, right).

The locative suffix -yan is one that attaches to verbs and indicates customary action, as pointed out by Frances Karttunen (unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.) So, this would be a place where the leaking occurs regularly, and therefore, again, it is likely the site of a natural spring.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

yxicayā. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Ixicayan, pueblo

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


water, mountains, hills, shells, agua, montañas, cerros, caracoles, conchas, manantiales, Yxicayan

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

"Place Where Water Seeps Out" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 230)

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 40 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 90 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).