nahuatl (Mdz71r)

nahuatl (Mdz71r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This example of iconography for speech (nahuatl) or perhaps "to speak" (the verb tlahtoa) captures two speech scrolls. They are painted turquoise. They provide for comparisons where speech scrolls appear in compound hieroglyphs. They derive from page 71 recto of the Codex Mendoza, and they emerge from the mouth of an older woman associated with the serving of octli (also called pulque, in Spanish). This folio has additional figures with speech scrolls emerging from their mouths, men and women, and of various ages.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

It is interesting that the woman standing near the large pulque jug is the only one on the page who has two scrolls coming from her mouth. Everyone else, including an elder male, have only one volute. One wonders whether she might have been speaking especially forthrightly or loudly, but perhaps the double scroll has no particular interpretation.

Added 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

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Shapes and Perspectives: 

language, speech, speaking, hablar, hablando, idioma, lengua, náhuatl

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 


Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 71 recto,, image 152 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)