Ocoapan (Mdz39r)

Ocoapan (Mdz39r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Ocoapan has two principal visual elements, a pine tree (ocotl) that provides pitch for torches and a part of a canal or water ditch (apantli), which provides the phonetic indicator for the locative suffix -apan ("on the waters"). The apantli, seen in cross-section, has its waters spilling out, unlike most examples, which fully contain the water. The boundary or structure of this canal or water ditch is yellow and has hash marks in groups of three periodically spaced around that perimeter. The turquoise-colored water has the black lines of current and two white turbinate shells and a white droplet (or precious stone) with its concentric circle coming off the water, so typical of both atl) (water) and apantli. The pine tree has two trunks, each one with green foliage and yellow blossoms. The trunks have diagonal black lines, thick and thin, which are so typical of the way trees are indicated in the Codex Mendoza. Between the two trunks appears to be a pine cone, which may be providing a clue that this is a torch pine. One of the branches, coming out the back of the tree, has been cut off. Perhaps it was cut for its torch material.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The tree called ocote today in Spanish was used for obtaining fat wood that was useful for torches. It has the name pinus montezumea, and an online photograph of it shows the pine cone that might be represented in this compound glyph. Googling ocote will also bring up images of the fat wood.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

ocoapan. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Ocoapan, pueblo

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: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

pinetrees, cones, pines, pinos, ocotes, pine cones, piñas, canals, canales

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

oco(tl), pine tree or torch pine, fat wood, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/ocotl
apan(tli), water channel/canal, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/apantli
-apan (locative suffix), on or at the waters of, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/apan-0
a(tl), water, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/atl

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the Pinetree Waters" [Gordon Whittaker, Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs, 2021, 104]

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Sobre las Aguas de los Pinos, Sobre las Aguas de los Ocotes

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
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)