Tlamauh (MH573v)

Tlamauh (MH573v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Tlamauh (“Wise One" or "Knowing One,” attested here as a man’s name) shows a frontal view of what was originally a starry or stellar eye (doubling as a star in the night sky--see below). This one has the usual circle with concentric half circles and heavy lid, but the added pupil or iris is not part of the earlier hieroglyphs, such as from the Codex Mendoza.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Tlamah (or Tlamao, as it is often spelled) is a powerful name. The style of this eye is also called the starry eye or stellar eye, given how it can double as a star in the sky. This connection with celestial phenomena may relate to the meaning of the personal name. From other examples we also see a connection with Ehecatl. The name seems to derive from tlahmati, supposedly to "practice trickery or sorcery" (very close to tlamati, to know something). However, the translation of sorcery and trickery reveals a Christian bias on the part of the friar Alonso de Molina, and really the Nahuas saw the Tlamao as being wise, perhaps like a priest or a tlamatini. Supporting this, the use of the eye (ixtli) for the glyph calls forth the verb ixtlamati, to be wise, prudent. Furthermore, Marc Thouvenot (2010, 178–181) explains how iximati (which can become imati, to manage cleverly or create skillfully) compares to mati (to know). Imati involves knowing through seeing, much like conocer might indicate in Spanish, and mati is "to know" as in saber in Spanish. Once again, then, the eye glyph is a semantic indicator for a place of wisdom.

The starry eye as found in the Codex Mendoza of c. 1541 gradually evolved--probably through European stylistic influence--to include the eyeball, an iris, and a pupil, all visible below the large eyelid. Eventually, it would also gain eyelashes and an eyebrow and take on a leaf shape (pointed oval), moving away for the perfect circle on the perimeter.

The contextualizing image seems to have a glyph for an occupation (usually found to the right of the name glyph), but it could be an additional part of the name glyph. It has yet to be analyzed.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

juā. tlamao

Gloss Normalization: 

Juan Tlamauh (or Juan Tlamao)

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

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

tlamauh, wise one, knowledgeable person, or possibly sorcerer,
tlamauh(tli), crazed, berzerk, or infected,
ix(tli), eye,
ixtlamati, to be wise, prudent,
tlamati, to know something, to jest, or to practice "sorcery" (verb),
tlamatini, a sage, wise person, scholar,
tlama, someone knowledgeable, also a medico,

Image Source: 
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: