tepehualiztli (TR29r)

tepehualiztli (TR29r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example of a defeat (tepehualiztli) through warfare (glossed as guerra, in Spanish) shows two warriors with shields and macuahuitl (obsidian studded clubs). The one on the left is setting fire to the thatched roof of a teocalli using what may be a bundled group of pine torches (ocotl) with flames of red and blue. This man has a white loan cloth, white sandals with red (possibly leather) ties, a green vest with red (possibly leather) ties, and an average man's hairstyle. His shield has a turquoise-blue rim, a terracotta colored center, and a decoration of seven down balls, one in the middle and six surrounding that one. The warrior on the right, who may be a defender, but he appears to be very much like the other man, with the only difference being the design of his chimalli (war shield), which has a turquoise-blue rim but a black and white checkered pattern inside the circle. The stepped temple (teocalli) is shown in profile with small steps going up the left side. Atop the stepped platform is a standard-shaped calli (house or building), but its T-shaped beams are red. The thatching is golden in color; across the top is a more woven section with slanting lines.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This attack on a temple would symbolize an attack on an altepetl by an opposing one, most likely a part of an imperialistic expansion, which is a prominent theme across the Codex Mendoza. The result is not obliteration, but rather, folding the defeated town into an empire whereby the colonized town would have to provide labor and tributes in kind to the new power. Some will define tepehualiztli as "conquest," but that term does not apply if total destruction is the perception. A defeat followed by colonization is more appropriate.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1550–1563

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


attack, ataque, fire, fuego, battle, batalla, guerra, war, defeat, vencer, conquista, conquest

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

la derrota

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Telleriano-Remensis Codex, folio 29 recto, MS Mexicain 385, Gallica digital collection, https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8458267s/f83.item.zoom

Image Source, Rights: 

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Historical Contextualizing Image: