Teocuitlatlan (Mdz44r)

Teocuitlatlan (Mdz44r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph represents the place name Teocuitlatlan in the state of Oaxaca. The glyph has three principal elements. The main element is the round disc of gold (teocuitlatl), with its nearly three-dimensional standing cross, with rounded tips and an inner cross that overlaps somewhat. In the spaces between the four points of the cross and still inside the two outer, concentric circles are four small circles. The entirety is painted yellow.

Two other elements in this place name include a human's right arm and hand in the foreground and water (atl), with its three streams and white droplets/beads (with small, concentric circles) and a white turbinate shell at the tips, painted turquoise blue. The water appears behind and to the side of the gold disk. The way the three parts of this compound glyph are combined, with the hand slightly in front, then the gold disk, and the water somewhat behind that, also provides a kind of depth or three dimensionality to this sign.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

In this compound, the teocuitlatl is a logogram for gold. The water (atl) is a phonetic complement for the final syllable in teocuitlatl. And the locative suffix (-tlan) is not represented visually.

Another compound glyph for Teocuitlatlan from the Codex Mendoza, very different from this one, appears below. That one has the gold disk in flames, using a visual to recall the verb tlatla (to burn), to represent the final syllable of teocuitlatl plus the locative suffix -tlan.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

teocuitlatlan / puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Teocuitlatlan, pueblo (but the realy name is Tlapacoyan, or Tlapacoya today, state of Oaxaca)

Gloss 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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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

The gold piece [teocuitla(tl)] in the center is where the reading starts, but the hand that takes (cui), on the left, and the water (atl), on the right, reiterate two of the sounds of the word teocuitlatl.


gold pieces, pieces of gold, hands, takes, taking, waters, arms

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Place of Much Gold" (Berdan & Anawalt, 1992, v. 1, p. 208)

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 44 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 98 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).

Historical Contextualizing Image: