petlatl (Mdz38r)

petlatl (Mdz38r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element (petlatl, woven mat) has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name Petlatlan. It is a horizontal strip of woven mat, colored yellow, the apparent colort of the reeds with which it was made. The interwoven reeds or rushes appear here on a diagonal.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Woven mats were extremely prevalent in quotidian life among the Aztecs, and they remain very prevalent, especially in rural communities, all over Mexico today. In ancient times, they served as seats of authority (often in combination with a high-backed seat, the icpalli), as bedding, as wrappings for the dead, and many other uses. A petlatl could be important enough to be mentioned as an item bequeathed to the next generation in a testament, such as the one quoted from 1577 in our online Nahuatl Dictionary, under the term petlatl. The term entered the Spanish language of Mexico as petate.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss 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 & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
SVG of Glyph: 
SVG Image, Credit: 

Crystal Boulton-Scott made the SVG.


woven mats, petates, esteras, blandos de espadañas

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

woven reed mat

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el petate

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 38 recto,, image 86 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).