mamalhuaztli (TR29v)

mamalhuaztli (TR29v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This simplex glyph for fire drilling with a pole (mamalhuaztli) comes from the Codex Telleriano-Remensis. It compares somewhat favorably to the examples from the Codex Mendoza (see below), although the colors vary. This one shows a reed-arrow being employed for the drilling. Curls of smoke rise up from the hot spot where arrow meets the horizontal piece of wood.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The New Fire Ceremony was called the xiuhmolpilli, when 52 years were "bundled," so this drilling of the fire was related to the calendar. The contextualizing image shows that this particular fire drilling took place in Ome Acatl (2-Acatl, Two Reed), the year 1403. See this image of a fire-drilling ceremony in the Codex Borbónicus. See also the short article about the fire drilling ceremony in Mexicolore.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1550–1563

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood and Stephanie Wood


fires, fuegos, incendios, flechas, plumas, calendarios, xiuhpohualli, año, turquesa, xihuitl

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

mamalhuaz(tli), a hand tool or drill for making fire,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el palo saca-fuego

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Telleriano-Remensis Codex, folio 29 recto, MS Mexicain 385, Gallica digital collection,

Image Source, Rights: 

The non-commercial reuse of images from the Bibliothèque nationale de France is free as long as the user is in compliance with the legislation in force and provides the citation: “Source / Bibliothèque nationale de France” or “Source / BnF.”

Historical Contextualizing Image: