Texopan (Mdz43r)

Texopan (Mdz43r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Texopan includes two notable elements, a vertical oval of turquoise (stone?), representing the color name texotli, or (turquoise) blue. Above that, a (left) footprint facing the direction of the viewer's right supplies the locative suffix (-pan) meaning "on." The footprint can also mean the verb pano, to cross over, and it can stand for the phonetic "xo," thereby complementing or reinforcing the "xo" in the place name.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

An article, "Colorantes Naturales," in México Desconocido, states that the color texotli was made from mixing clay with the the intense turquoise blue that comes from flower called Matlalxochitl. But, the reference to turquoise is like most color names in this collection, where Gordon Whittaker notes, "color terms themselves are almost always represented by the relevant colors, not by logograms or phonetic spellings." (See Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs, 2021, 94–95.) His translation for the place name is thus, "On the Turquoise," as though the town of reference is on the color (perhaps a site with turquoise deposits)? But the oval is not the standard glyph shape for a stone (see, below right), and so the reference to the color is not necessarily a reference to a source of turquoise stone. Perhaps the town was on a body of water that had a turquoise color. Turquoise (xihuitl) can have a phonetic value of xiuh- (with its usual stem change of xihui- to xiuh-), or it can have the value of -xo-, which we also get from the foot. The "xo" element thus serves as an example of what Whittaker calls "graphic syllepsis," whereby an element can have two functions, much as a letter in a crossword. (See: Whittaker, ibid., 13.)

Footprint glyphs have a wide range of translations. In this collection, so far, we can attest to yauh, xo, pano, -pan, paina, temo, nemi, quetza, otli, iyaquic hualiloti, huallauh, tepal, tetepotztoca, totoco, otlatoca, -tihui, and the vowel "o." Other research (Herrera et al, 2005, 64) points to additional terms, including: choloa, tlaloa, totoyoa, eco, aci, quiza, maxalihui, centlacxitl, and xocpalli.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

texopan. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Texopan, pueblo

Gloss 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

Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

stones, turquoise, foot, feet, footprints, piedra, turquesa, el pie, los pies, las huellas, colores

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

"On the Turquoise" (Whittaker, 2021, 95)

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"En el (Color?) Turquesa"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio was 43 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 96 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).