ixtli (Mdz51r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for ixtli (eye and/or face) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Ixcoyamec. It is a full circle with a half of a concentric circle inside and a horizontal line just above the middle of the circle. What would be the eyelid is painted red, the rest is white (except for the black line drawings).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The Nahuatl noun ixtli can refer to eyes or faces, but this visual is clearly evoking an eye. The diphrase "in ixtli in yollotl" ("the eye or face and the heart" served as a metaphor for a person), with what we see and what we feel being essential. This eye will also appear as a star in the sky in some glyphs, which is why some scholars called it a starry eye.

Added 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

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


eyes, faces, ojos, caras, estrellas, stars, starry eyes

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

el ojo, la cara

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 51 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 112 of 118.

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).