ixtli (Mdz21v)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for eye(s) (ixtli) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Matixco. It is a single eye, with a red eyelid coming down half way across the eye ball. The pupil is outlined in black, but shows no color, and the iris is white.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Eyes have a strong visual overlap with stars. Nahuas may have seen stars as the eyes of the night sky, peering down at humans on earth. See the glyph for night [yohual(li, for examples. Human eyes, when depicted as being on a face do not necessarily have the same appearance as the eye in this element, as can be seen in any number of faces that appear in the Codex Mendoza and other manuscripts. It is important here to point out that the eye is not the intended meaning in the compound glyph from which this element has been carved. Rather, what is meant is the postposition -ixco (or -tixco, when the t ligature is there to separate two vowels). This is a locative suffix meant to be read phonetically and tell where. The eye points to "on the surface of" or "in front of."

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

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

ix(tli), eye, eyes, face, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/ixtli
-ixco (locative suffix, on the surface of, in front of), https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/ixco

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

eye (ixtli) and "on the surface of, in front of" (-(t)ixco) [Gordon Whittaker, Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs, 2021, 105]

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el ojo (ixtli), o delante de o en la superficie de

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 21 verso, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 53 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).