ohuatl (Mdz37r)

ohuatl (Mdz37r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element emphasizing a green maize stalk (ohuatl) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Ohuapan. As can be seen below, right, the flag (pantli or panitl) has been removed. The visual of this ohuatl is of a full grown plant, not only flowering by with an ear of corn. The stalk and leaves are green, the roots (visible above the ground) are red, and the maize cob is yellow with a red tassel. The corn has two parallel black hash marks and one additional black line, which might be unintended.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The two hash marks on the corn cob have the look of two eyes, which would anthropomorphize the plant. Corn cobs in mural paintings in Cacaxtla have cobs that are made into human heads. But another interpretation here is that the pairs of parallel short lines that appear on these maize ears are diagnostic marks that say "maize." Note how, on the corn tortillas that appear below, these same parallel lines appears. And they are much thinner than the "hua" syllable hash marks.

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, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

plantas de maíz, milpa, tallo, caña de maíz

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

la planta del maíz

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 37 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 84 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).