Tezoltzapotlan (Mdz48r)

Tezoltzapotlan (Mdz48r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Tezoltzapotlan has three notable visual components, a stone (tetl), a quail's head (zol(in)], and a sapote tree (tzapotl). The tree has two branches and a leader. The green vegetation is two-toned, with balls (likely, the fruit) on stems protruding from the foliage. The quail head recalls the Montezuma quail. And, the stone is a horizontal stone with classic curling ends and wavy purple and orange alternating lines. The -tlan locative suffix is not presented visually, but perhaps the landscape provides a semantic locative.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

As Gordon Whittaker points out, the -zol- element is a phonetic indicator for the adjectival suffix "zol" which means old or wretched. It is not necessarily a place with quail.

In the other examples of the tzapotl (zapote, sapote) that we have from various compound glyphs (below right), we see green balls (an apple-like fruit) in lieu of the stones. Some of these trees have one, two, or three fruits per branch. Alonso de Molina translates tzapotl as "cierta fruita conocida," a type of fruit that is known (i.e. locally]. Some call this tree the Mexican apple, or "sapote tree" in English. According to Wikipedia, the fruit is edible, it contains pharmacological properties such as histamines, and the seeds may have been used by the Aztecs to make poison.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

teuh çoltzapotlā. puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Tezoltzapotlan, pueblo

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

stones, quail birds, sapotes, codornices, árboles, zapotes, piedras, fruits, frutas, trees, branches, roots, árboles, ramas, raíces

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

"By the Dusty Old Zapote Trees" (Whittaker, 2021, 95)

Whittaker's Transliteration: 


Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 48 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 106 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).