matlatl (Mdz59r)

matlatl (Mdz59r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example of a net, or red (Spanish for net, as seen in the gloss), is included here as a comparison for other nets in the collection. Despite the lack of a Nahuatl-language gloss here, we are labeling this net with the term matlatl. This net has an oval frame attached to it, and a long stick or handle, also connected to the frame. The assumption of wood comes from the terracotta color (here, very light), which is often given to wooden things.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The net appears to be one for catching fish in a river, lagoon, or lake. Compared to others, this net is more of a scoop. Other nets much like this one are found in glyphs referring to Tolocan (modern Toluca), because the valley there had a large lagoon that used to be fished extensively. The Indigenous people there were also known as the Matlatzinca. But this matlatl could also have been a type of net used in the lakes of the Valley of Mexico, in Michoacan, and other parts. This is worth investigating. See below for comparisons.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

red [which is Spanish for matlatl, and Spanish for the English word "net"]

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


nets, redes, pescar, pescando, herramienta

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

Codex Mendoza, folio 59 recto,, image 128 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

Original manuscript is held by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1; used here with the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Historical Contextualizing Image: