Temic (MH563r)

Temic (MH563r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Temic ("A Dream," "A Caterpillar," or a famous name) shows a frontal view of a caterpillar. It has curving lines across its body and a small head. It appears shrouded, similar to a corpse.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

At least two other glyphs in this collection show caterpillars for the name Temic or Temictli. Caterpillars resemble shrouded corpses, which could be a phonetic indication for micqui (deceased person), and provide the "mic-" element in this name. Perhaps the caterpillars were meant to disguise the meaning of "dream." Bartolomé de Alva's confessionary shows that Nahuas were interrogated about their belief in dreams. Another consideration is that the caterpillar was a dream of a butterfly to come, and butterflies figure prominently in Nahua religious beliefs, as explained in an article by Ian Mursell in Mexicolore.

Temictli was also a famous name, given to the nephew of Moctezuma 1. Here it is also attested as a man's name.

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

fraco temic/xochi

Gloss Normalization: 

Francisco Temic / Xochi

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


cocoons, capullos, dreams, sueños, death, muerte, morir, shrouds, sleep, dormir, caterpillars, butterfly, mariposas

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

La Gente Muere

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library; used here with the Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SAq 3.0).

Historical Contextualizing Image: