Mapachtepec (Mdz13v)

Mapachtepec (Mdz13v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph features a standard hill or mountain (tepetl), painted in two tones of green and with a yellow and a red horizontal stripe at the bottom. Below the mountain is an arm and hand (maitl), reaching to the viewer's left. The (left) hand holds a substance called pachtli, which looks like hay, although it has other definitions, too (mistletoe, chaff, or refuse of plants). The locative suffix (-c) (as given in the gloss) is not shown visually, but it combines with -tepe- to form -tepec, a visual locative suffix meaning "on the hill" or "on the mountain." The resulting translation may be, "On the Hill for Getting Hay."

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Perhaps this hand has taken (involving the verb ma, "to take"] the chaff (pachtli), or in fact has stolen it, given that mapachin means thief (and, by extension, raccoon, given their nocturnal activities). The placement of the grabbing hand is on top of the mountain in the other rendition of Mapachtepec included in this collection and taken from the Codex Mendoza (see below, right). The locative suffix (-c) is not shown visually in either example, but -tepec is a locative of its own. The reading of this glyph is supported by some phonetic redundancy or phonetic clues to help the reader arrive at the proper meaning. Still, the final reading is ambiguous. Does it refer to a place known for raccoons? (Why wouldn't the artist have drawn this animal?) Or does it refer to a place where people can get hay? Karttunen even adds "moss" and "plant refuse" as possibilities for "pach."

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

mapachtepec. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Mapachtepec, pueblo

Gloss 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

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Number of Parts, Other / Comment: 

The hand and its contents are counted here as separate elements, even though there is overlap.

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

stealing, thief, thieves, thievery, raccoons, hands, arms, mountains, hills, ladrón, ladrones, robar, mapaches, manos, brazos, montañas, cerros

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

"On the Hill of the Raccoon" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 191)

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 verso,, 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).