teltapach (Mdz10v)

teltapach (Mdz10v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for teltapach (liver) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Tampatel. The liver looks something like a flower. It is predominantly red, but there is a small yellow base, yellow tips on what look like two petals, and a yellow rounded interior emerging between the two petal-like shapes. The shape and color compare in interesting ways to the heart (yollotl), below on the right. We should also remember that the top of a severed arm (acolli) has red and yellow colors where liquid seeps out in Acolhuacan, as does the opening of the tepetl) as seen in the way it leaks in Ixicayan, and often the lining of a canal (apantli) will have red and yellow layers closest to the water as seen in Ahuilizapan.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Teltapach and Tampatel are obviously not a perfect phonetic match. This is likely due to the influence of the local dialect in the Huaxtec (Huasteca, today) region. The Nahuatl can attest for the "tel" component from Teltapach, as a type of abbreviation, perhaps. Liver can be said various ways in Nahuatl, as our dictionary entries (right) will attest, but the smallest component is "el." Please note in the dictionary entries how the liver is associated with one's being, one's essence. It can also be associated with emotions and, according to Karttunen, strong or negative emotions.

Added 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

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Other Cultural Influences: 

órganos de cuerpo, body organs

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 10 verso,, image 31 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).