Tlahuilan (MH513r)

Tlahuilan (MH513r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name (or occupation) Tlahuilan (short for the verb, tlahuilana, to drag lumber, or tlahuilanalli, something dragged along) consists of a horizontal beam, with a hole at the left end and a twisted rope through the hole. The rope would be used to drag the wood. The way the rope is threaded (disappearing through the wood and coming out the other side) gives the impression of three dimensional drawing.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

This glyph is in the usual positioning for a surname (see the contextualizing image), but it could reflect an occupation or labor duty relating to construction. Dragging wood was part of tribute obligations.

A good example of the beams used in framing the entryway of a calli can be seen in the place name Huapalcalco (below). The xima (shave, chop) glyph (also below) shows how wooden beams were created by hand. Other objects that were constructed with beams are the tzompantli and tlapechtli.

An image of how a large, heavy beam would be dragged by a group of six Nahua men is shown in a comparison image below. The beam has a similarly placed hole with a cord through it. The men pulled on the rope in unison.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

antonio tlauillā

Gloss Normalization: 

Antonio Tlahuilan

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


vigas, beams, wood, madera, transporte humano, arrastrar madera, dragging, construction, construcción

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

Six nahua men apparently drag (tlahuilana) a large wooden beam (huapalli). Diego Durán, Historia de las Indias de Nueva España e Islas de la Tierra Firme, Tomo II (Madrid: Banco Santander, 1990), 516.

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 513r, World Digital Library,

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: