tecpantli (HJ276:79:6r)

tecpantli (HJ276:79:6r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This notation represents the number twenty. It consists of a black and white line drawing facing right. It is employed here to indicate the dimensions of an agricultural parcel, forty-six (two tecpantli linked to six black dots, each equaling “one”) by thirty-two (one tecpantli linked to twelve black dots). The accompanying text does not specify the unit of measure (such as a Spanish vara, perhaps), just the numbers of some implied unit. See the historical contextualizing image.

Description, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Added Analysis: 

This iconographic figure appears on a pictorial manuscript submitted by indigenous petitioners on or around October 5, 1549, as evidence during a land dispute between the Cuernavacan community of Olac and the Marquesado del Valle. One of the pictorials found in the so-called Códice del Marquesado del Valle, it pictures a total of three outlined properties, the others planted sugar cane or mulberry trees, each of which were related to enterprises being developed by the Marqués at the time. The plot of land in question here is said to have belonged to don Hernando, undoubtedly Cuernavaca’s powerful tlatoani at the time. As well as featuring the pantli images, glyph for Olac, the artist rendered the place glyph for Olac, twelve xihuitl glyphs that in an accompanying Spanish text referring to the pictorial are said to stand for length of time that the plot had been under the control of the Marqués, and four fig trees [higueras/hicoxcuahuitl (see Historical Context Image). For more information, consult Códices indígenas de algunos pueblos del Marquesado, 1933 and 1883, “Códice núm. 1; and Santiago Sánchez, Códices del Marquesado del Valle, 2003, 86-90.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Olac, Cuernavaca, Morelos

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Robert Haskett


measures, medidas, units, unidades, flags, furrows, twenty, veinte, banderas, banners, 20, numbers, números, cempohualli

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

tecpan(tli), a unit of 20, also a flag, banner, or an agricultural furrow, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/tecpantli

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

veinte, o bandera

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Robert Haskett

Image Source: 

Single-page codex, Archivo General de la Nación, México, Ramo de Hospital de Jesús, leg. 276, Exp. 79, fol. 6r.

Image Source, Rights: 

The Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), México, holds the original manuscript. This image is published here under a Creative Commons license, asking that you cite the AGN and this Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs.

Historical Contextualizing Image: