mamalhuaztli (Azca11)

mamalhuaztli (Azca11)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This example of iconography from the Codex Azcatitlan is meant to provide a comparison for glyphs of the mamalhuaztli, fire drilling aparatus. This one shows a man n profile, facing right, and dressed like a hummingbird (glossed as Huitzilopochtli), his face peering out through the open beak. He stands with one foot on the board being drilled and holds the arrow-like drill with the other foot. The bird has its wings raised somewhat. Its feathers are a golden color, darker on the head, chest, and tail. The drill is a white shaft with feather decorations at the top (one large wing feather and one down feather). Above the large feather is a small white trapezoidal object. The board that is being drilled has a pink color.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This is an Indigenous religious ceremony relating to the calendar and the start of a new 52-year cycle.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

post-1550, but content about the migration from Aztlan to about 1527

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

perhaps Tlatelolco, Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


divinidades, deidades, fuerzas sagradas, ceremonias, fuegos nuevos, calendario, xiuhpohualli, año, turquesa, xihuitl

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

mamalhuaz(tli), fire drilling ceremony,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

La Ceremonia del Fuego Nuevo

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

The Codex Azcatitlan is also known as the Histoire mexicaine, [Manuscrit] Mexicain 59–64. It is housed in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and hosted on line by the World Digital Library and the Library of Congress.

Image Source, Rights: 

The Library of Congress is “unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection.” But please cite Bibliothèque Nationale de France and this Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs.

Historical Contextualizing Image: