Tlalli (MH499v)

Tlalli (MH499v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Tlalli ("Land" or "Agricultural Parcel," here, attested as a man’s name) shows a bird's eye view of a square divided on a diagonal. The top (right) half has dots and the bottom (left) half has vertical black and white stripes. Perhaps the dotted section is fallow and the striped section is being cultivated with furrows or strips worked by different people. Different from the valley, where long strips were the norm for the chinamitl, the square shape of land parcels in the Huexotzinco municipality seems more common than the narrow rectangle, but both are known. (See below.)

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The name "Land" here seems to be represented by agricultural land, which was the mainstay of farming people, of course. Another translation for tlalli is Earth, and the mother Earth was sacred. The contextualizing image shows that this man worked in ceramics. So, he would have had to go to the land to get his clay, and probably came from parents who did this, so the occupation is another important connection to the name.

Tlalli is a personal Nahua name, but it is preceded in the gloss by a Christian first name (Toribio). He may have been named after Toribio de Benavente, also known as Motolinia ("One Who is Poor or Afflicted"). This was the first word he learned in Nahuatl, and he went on to learn the language well. He lived in the monastery in Huejotzingo. Doing a quick search for the name "Toribio" will produce an impressive result.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Toribio Tlalli

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


lands, parcels, tierras, agricultura, tenencia de la tierra, terrenos, sementeras

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

tlal(li), an agricultural parcel, land,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

La Tierra, La Sementera

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 499v, 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: