tecpancalli (Mdz69r)

tecpancalli (Mdz69r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example from the Codex Mendoza is included here to represent a tecpancalli. It is not glossed this way in the manuscript, but we hope it is accurate as one possible interpretation of the Spanish-language glosses that describe the setting as the seat Motecuhzoma's power and the various rooms for courts, war councils, and more. The buildings or rooms are spread over what appear to be two floors, with a patio coming toward the viewer on the upper level. The buildings are shown in a frontal view. They are white, and their entryways are framed with terracotta-colored beams. Inside each entrance we see yellow, woven reed mats (petlatl) with a herringbone weave. The mats cover the floors. The interior of the buildings or room is painted a dark gray. Motecuhzoma appears--seated on an additional petlatl seat--in the upper middle room with the concentric circles running horizontally across the upper facade. These circles have a strong association with royal palaces (tecpan).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The shortened version, tecpan, in fact, could be another relevant vocabulary term for what we see in this scene, and the glyphs for tecpan compare very well with the structure where Motecuhzoma sits. Tecpilcalli is another potentially relevant vocabulary term here, as it refers to a royal court reception hall. The strong presence of woven mats brings to mind the mat and throne diphrase that refers to governance, in petlatl in icpalli.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

las casas rreales de Motecçoma

Gloss Normalization: 

las casas reales de Motecuhzoma

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


casas reales, edificios, palacios, gobierno indígena, petates

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

tecpancal(li), palaces pertaining to great lords, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/tecpancalli
tecpilcal(li), a royal court reception hall, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/tecpilcalli
in petlatl in icpalli, mat and throne diphrase for governance, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/petlatl-icpalli

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

casas reales

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 69 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 148 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)