Mendoza (TR46r)

Mendoza (TR46r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the personal surname, Mendoza (the famous viceroy), consists of two main elements connected by a black line. One involves three branches of a maguey (metl) plant. The other is a gopher (tozan). The light-green maguey branches are joined at their base. They are upright, pointed, and they have three small yellow bumps on each one. The gopher is brown and its coat is textured. It is shown in profile, looking to the viewer’s left. Its visible eye is white and open. Two white fangs protrude from its mouth, and its red tongue sticks out considerably. Its tail is raised upward. The compound glyph is connected to the foot of the man, don Antonio de Mendoza, viceroy, who is the referent.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This is a much-cited example of how Nahuas used the principles and repertoire of their writing system to approximate the sound of Spanish surnames. The compound creates Me-tozan (leaving out one “n” and adding another, which is not at all unusual) for Mendoza. See the discussion of this glyph by Marc Zender (2008, 30). While the reading of metl makes sense knowing the name of the viceroy, the green plant in this glyph looks all the world like the examples of tolin that we have from the Codex Mendoza (see below). Gopher is an easier identification to support. See a bird’s eye view of a tozan from the Matrícula de Huexotzinco, below.

The black line connecting somewhat separate elements in compound glyphs is not unusual in this manuscripts, but it is something to watch, as it is not used by all tlacuilos.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 
Other Cultural Influences: 

Spanish names, nombres de españoles, taltuzas, gophers, magueyes

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

Marc Zender (2018, 30) analyzes the glyph as: me-TOSA, me[n]tosa

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 


Image Source: 

The Codex Telleriano-Remensis is hosted on line by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. We have taken this detail shot from folio 46 recto.

Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is not copyright protected, but please cite Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France or cite this Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs, ed. Stephanie Wood (Eugene, Ore.: Wired Humanities Projects, 2020–present).

Historical Contextualizing Image: