nantli (Mdz13v)

nantli (Mdz13v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for a revered mother (nantli) also doubles as the place name, Nantzintlan. It consists of the lower half of a woman with a bowl above that. The contents of the bowl are a group of dots, suggesting octli, a beverage made and often sold by women in early times. The woman's skirt is white. Her feet are bare and are painted yellow. If the full body were visible, the woman would be facing to our left.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The seated posture and the skirt are what convey the meaning of woman. The buttocks (tzintli), in profile, may also double for the reverential (tzin). Nothing here literally says mother. Mother is only implied by the revered woman and possibly the liquid in the bowl that some have suggested is a concoction meant to alleviate pain during childbirth. While the container is different from the one that usually holds octli (pulque, in Spanish), women were the ones responsible for making octli, so perhaps this is meant to convey that beverage.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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

Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


mothers, women, reverential tzin, medicinals, remedies, beverages, pulque, octli

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


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la madre

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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).