Motecuhzoma (Mdz15v)

Motecuhzoma (Mdz15v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the personal name Motecuhzoma (apparently Motecuhzoma the Younger, here) features a diadem in profile, facing toward the viewer's right. This turquoise-colored diadem (the xiuhhuitzolli) is a glyph for lord (tecuhtli). The hair, tzontli, which appears under the diadem, may provide a phonetic indicator for zomalli (anger), which some interpretations suggest as the root of the final part of the name. The Mo- at the start of the name is likely the second person possessive pronoun ("Your"), resulting in the overall translation of "Your Fierce Lord." The small turquoise-colored elements--one floating in the air and one attached to the hair--have yet to be analyzed, but one may be a lip plug and the other an ear plug.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The museum comparison, below, also includes the diadem and hair--along with perhaps the lip plug and ear plug. Speech scrolls on this stone carving may point to the fact that Motecuhzoma was a huei tlahtoani (great ruler), given that speech scrolls can stand for the verb tlatoa, to speak.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Number of Parts, Other / Comment: 

The four elements counted here include the diadem, hair, lip plug, and ear plug, which all seem to be diagnostic for Motecuhzoma.


emperors, empires, rulers, gobernantes, emperadores, imperios, diademas, Montezuma, Moteuczoma, labrets, enchufes, tapones, labios, bezotes, adornos labiales, jewelry, jollas, lip plugs, lip-plugs, teuctli

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

Motecuhtzoma. A bas relief stone carving on the underside of the lid of the so-called "Caja de Moctezuma Xocoyotzin," Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Salón Mexica. The Museo describes the headdress as a xiuhitzolli [xiuhhuitzolli], which is the turquoise diadem. The museum signage also refers to it as the "imperial headdress." Photograph by Robert Haskett, 14 February 2023.

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

Codex Mendoza, folio 15 verso,, image 41 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)