Nauhyotl (MH485v)

Nauhyotl (MH485v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Nauhyotl (roughly translating as "Having the Quality of Four," "Four-ness," or maybe "Symmetry") consists of four (nahui) vertical lines connected at the bottom with a horizontal line. The -yotl suffix is not shown visually.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

There was a Nauhyotl Tecuhtli, the Lord of the Four Directions. So, perhaps Nauhyotl and Nauhyotzin were shorter version of this, or perhaps they also had some connection with cardinal directions.

The seventh ruler of Culhuacan had the name Nauhyotl Tecuhtlamacazqui. The simpler name Nauhyotl is further attested in at least a couple of censuses for various men after colonization. Here, too, the man bearing this name has the baptismal name Juan.

The even numbers four and eight were pervasive in Nahua culture. The suffix "-yotl" is, according to James Lockhart, "an abstract or collective nominal suffix that, when possessed, expresses inalienable or organic possession" (see his: Nahuatl as Written: Lessons in Older Written Nahuatl, with Copious Examples and Texts, Stanford: Stanford University Press and UCLA Latin American Studies, 2001, 242). In English, this can be something like the suffix -ness, or -ship, or refer to a design of the type mentioned in the noun. One might think of nauhyotl as referring to a quatrefoil, but the visual is very basic, seeming relating to counting, and nothing like the four-division shield or the shape of the sun. Of course, a drawing of that sort could lead to an incorrect reading. Here, the tlacuilo wished to convey the number and its meaning.

Notice how some tonalli (sun, day, solar energizing force) can appear as four circles (below).

Guy Stresser-Péan (1995, 150) suggests "abstracción del número cuatro" as the translation of Nauhyotl. (See our Bibliography for the full citation of his book.) Magnus Pharao Hansen translates Nauhyotl as "Fourth," in his 2014 blog about the 1544 census of Morelos.

Some names that are simply numbers, such as macuilli (expressed as Macuil), may have originally been names from the divinatory calendars, having had this number, one of the thirteen, in combination with one of twenty day signs. But, here, the -yotl suffix takes the number name more toward an emphasis on just the number itself and probably its symmetry. Omeyotl (duality) is another example, although it is less popular as a personal name than Nauhyotl.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

Juā nauhyotl

Gloss Normalization: 

Juan Nauhyotl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Shapes and Perspectives: 

numbers, números, names, nombres

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

La Calidad o Naturaleza de Cuatro, Cuatredad

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood (quoting Guy Stresser-Péan)

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 485v, World Digital Library,

Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library; used here with the Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SAq 3.0).

Historical Contextualizing Image: