Petlacalco (Mdz20r)

Petlacalco (Mdz20r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Petlacalco consists of a house or building (calli) covered with handwoven reed mats (petlatl). The house has a standard shape, with many right angles and an entryway with T-shaped beams that are a terracotta orange color (suggesting wood). The building's horizontal base is white. The locative suffix (-co) is not visual.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This glyph could also be considered a simplex if we take the glyph for stand for petlacalli, a dictionary word meaning reed hamper, or even petlacalcatl (treasurer). At some point in the history of the manuscript, the gloss was altered, deleting the abbreviation for "pueblo," and substituting, "Governor, Petlacalcatl." Various contributors advocate that the place name Petlacalco is what was meant, even though Peñafiel (1885) and Clark (1938) did not see it this way. A place associated with the official who governed tribute collection could also be a storage site. Frances Karttunen considers it a place where storage hampers made from reeds were kept. On the same page of the Codex Mendoza (20 recto), we also find Tepetlacalco, which may have been a place with stone storage containers for tributes, if the Petlacalcatl was in charge of tribute collection.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Governador, Petlacalcatl

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

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

mats, petates, houses, buildings, casas, edificios, treasurers, tesoreros, hampers, cestos

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

Place where storage hampers are kept. [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the Woven Reed Coffer" or "On the Storehouse" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, 199)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"La Casa del Tesurero" o "El Almacen para Tributos"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 20 recto,, image 50 of 188.

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)