iztatl (Mdz13v)

iztatl (Mdz13v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name, Iztatlan. The main feature is a ball of salt. It is white salt, and the ball has a ridge around it. The center has speckles (grains) that are visible.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The speckles in the salt are reminiscent of those in the glyphs for sand, as seen here: Book of Tributes. The word for salt (iztatl) lent itself to the word for white (iztac), but representations of iztac do not have speckles: https://aztecglyphs.wired-humanities.org/content/iztac. Of course, in some places in the world, salt can be other colors. Balls of salt were tribute items, described for instance in the Book of Tributes published by S. L. Cline (1993), pp. 140–141. The Kingsborough Codex shows a salt glyph with notations amounting to 200; so, 200 balls of salt were to be delivered by a given community as tribute items, along with 80,000 chiles, 800 bundles of beans, and more.

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


salt balls, salt cakes, white

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

salt or ball of salt

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la sal, la bola de sal

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 verso, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 37 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).

See Also: