Tetzon (MH527r)

Tetzon (MH527r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Tetzon ("Offspring," attested here as a man’s name) takes advantage of the head of a man whose name this is and adds facial hair (tentzontli), literally, lip hair. The hair on the upper lip and jaw is rather short, but the chin whiskers are long and curly.

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, presumaing this name is, in fact, Tetzon, despite the intrusive "n" in the gloss, 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: 

pedro tençō

Gloss Normalization: 

Pedro Tentzon

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Shapes and Perspectives: 
Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 
Other Cultural Influences: 

beards, barbas, hair, pelos, faces, caras, tentzon, tetzontli

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

la barba

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 527r, World Digital Library, https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_15282/?sp=133&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: