tlalli (Mdz46r)

tlalli (Mdz46r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for an agricultural parcel (tlalli) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Tlacotlalpan. It is a half circle, which would not likely have been the shape of the parcel. It is circular because the artist was working to elicit the word "tlaco" (half) as well as tlalli, and a half of a tortilla or a tortilla that was folded in half, was often described as "tlaco," which seems to have evolved into the contemporary word, "taco." The left half of the circle (see below, right) is colored purple and terracotta, which is typical of representations of agricultural land. It has rows of dots and u-shapes (tipped to the left).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added 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

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


lands, parcels, parcelas, tierras

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

tlal(li), land, agricultural parcel,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la tierra, la parcela agrícola

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 46 recto,, image 102 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).