Quetzalmacan (Mdz28r)

Quetzalmacan (Mdz28r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Quetzalmacan shows a group of quetzalli feathers held in a hand (maitl) reaching in from the viewer's left. Part of the arm is also visible. The five feathers are upright, dark green at the base, and a lighter green toward the tips. The hand (a right hand) and arm are terracotta-colored. The locative suffix (-can, where) is not shown visually.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The hand may be grabbing or taking the feathers, which would imply the verb ma, even though the word for hand supplies the phonetic element -ma-. So, there may be a natural phonetic coincidence here. For other examples of compound glyphs where the hand may be grabbing, taking, or capturing something, see Mapachtepec and Toliman (among others).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Quetzalmacan, pueblo

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

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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

feathers, plumas, hands, manos, arms, brazos, capture, capturar, take, tomar

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

"Place Where Quetzal Feather Are Captured" (concurring with Berdan and Anawalt) [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Place Where Quetzal Feather Are Captured" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, 203)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"El Lugar Donde Se Capturan Las Plumas del Quetzal"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 28 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 66 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).