Tetzon (MH522r)

Tetzon (MH522r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound glyph for the personal name Tetzon ("Offspring," attested here as a man's name) shows the head of a man in profile, facing toward the viewer's right. He has a long, thick beard (tentzontli) protruding or sticking out.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

One can consider this a compound glyph, given that lip or chin (tentli) and hair (tzontli) combine to form the word. But the two elements are merged, and there is a term in Nahuatl for beard. But, ff this name is, in fact, Tetzon, as the gloss suggests, then the name means offspring, and in such a case, the lips and hair combine for a fully phonographic compound.

Beards were known in the autonomous era (as this Olmec sculpture found in Puebla shows, but beards became thicker and more prevalent as European DNA became a factor as a result of colonization (whether as a result of violation or through consensual unions). Nahua and European views of hair were very different and affected how they perceived one another. For a study of some of these attitudes, see A. Turner, "Beard and Conquest," Revista de Historia Iberoamericana 6:1 (2013). The beard in this glyph seems especially black, thick, and long.

Wikipedia notes: "In the 15th century, most European men were clean-shaven. [But] 16th-century beards were allowed to grow to an amazing length (see the portraits of John Knox, Bishop Gardiner, Cardinal Pole and Thomas Cranmer). Some beards of this time were the Spanish spade beard, the English square cut beard, the forked beard, and the stiletto beard. In 1587 Francis Drake claimed, in a figure of speech, to have singed the King of Spain's beard." See below for an image of a forked beard.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

felliphe tetzon

Gloss Normalization: 

Felipe Tentzon

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

José Aguayo-Barragan

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Other Cultural Influences: 

beards, barbas, hair, pelos, faces, caras

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

This person appears on folio 665 recto of the Matrícula de Huexotzinco. It appears in the location of the page where the Indigenous guardian over the tribute payers can be found. But this man's clothing and sixteenth-century "forked" beard (mentioned above) suggest "Spaniard." No name or title is provided on the document for this person.

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


Spanish Translation, Credit: 

José Aguayo-Barragan

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 522r, World Digital Library. https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_15282/?sp=183&st=image

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: