tetl (Mdz50r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for tetl (stone, rock) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Tlapacoyan. This stone is largely oval and horizontal, with curling features at each end and alternating, wavy, purple and terracotta-colored stripes running diagonally across the middle, and the end on our left largely terracotta and the end on our right largely purple. In the compound this element played a semantic role (given that clothes were often washed on rocks at the river's edge or lakeshore). Here, we are designating this element a logograph.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This is the standard color, shape, and design of glyphs for tetl (stones). In some cases where tetl is an element in a compound, just the curling ends will be featured (see examples below). This is why the curling elements on the tepetl (hill or mountain) must be providing the phonetic te- start to tepetl--or at least play a semantic role, given that hills and mountains will often have rocky outcroppings.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


stones, piedras

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

stone or rock (silent)

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la piedra

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 50 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 110 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).