Tlaloc (Mdz15v)

Tlaloc (Mdz15v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element, featuring the head of the deity Tlaloc, has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Iztac Tlalocan. The deity is largely white (iztac), including what appears to be a feather headdress. The color white enters into the place name. Some details, such as a long curling nose or lip, are painted turquoise.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Compare this glyph image with the day sign of the calendar relating to rain, quiyahuitl, captured in the Codex Magliabechiano. There, where white is not emphasized, turquoise is a predominant color. The turquoise in the Codex Mendoza glyph is the same color used for water, not a coincidence (see the rain clouds and raindrops in glyphs below). Book VI of the Florentine Codex, which includes prayers to Tlaloc, is worth pursuing for a deeper understanding of this deity. One image of Tlaloc from the Florentine Codex (as published by the World Digital Library) shows an anthropomorphic figure wearing a headdress that shares some elements with this glyph.

In the museum comparison image below, one can see the goggle eye, the fangs, and the same curling lines around the eye and the mouth that appear on the glyphs.

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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


white, colors, deities, rain, drizzle, calendar, calendrics, water, quiyahuitl

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

This is Tlaloc serving as the date glyph, Nahui Quiyahuitl. Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Salón Mexica. Photograph by Robert Haskett, 14 February 2023. Damage to the stone has largely eliminated one of the four circles of the notation.

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

rain deity

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Tlaloc, la deidad de la lluvia

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 15 verso,, image 41 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).