ozomatli (TR8r)

ozomatli (TR8r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This example of the element of a monkey (ozomatli) comes from a date in the Codex Telleriano-Remensis. It shows the head of a monkey in profile, looking toward the viewer's right. The monkey's face is primarily red with a white, wide-open and round eye, and protruding white teeth. The hair on its head is full, rounded, and purple, coming to a point in the front. Its ear is red with a green ear plug or earring. The monkey wears a two-part, bound, orange and white, device on its head.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The glyph for monkey very typically shows the hair (tzontli) on the top of its head standing up, and sometimes the hair is long and thick, and so very noticeable. Perhaps this portrayal of hair is meant to serve as a phonetic complement for the "zom" (from tzontli) in the middle of the word ozoma. The ozomatli is a day sign in the 260-day calendar called the tonalpohualli, so it was given as a name to babies born on its day. There was also a divine force or deity named Ozomatli, which, according to Desmond Morris (Monkey, 2013, 41), was "the companion spirit and servant of the god Xochipilli, the deity of music and dance. In paintings it is depicted dressed in malinalli herbs and with white, oval earrings with pointed ends." The wide-open eye of this particular version of ozomatli is also found in other manuscripts and may be, along with the hair, a diagnostic.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1550–1563

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

monkeys, monos, fechas, dates, días, calendarios

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

ozomat(li), a monkey, a calendrical marker, a person's name

Image Source: 

Telleriano-Remensis Codex, folio 8 recto, MS Mexicain 385, Gallica digital collection, https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8458267s/f41.item.zoom

Image Source, Rights: 

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Historical Contextualizing Image: