tlantli (Mdz50r)

tlantli (Mdz50r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for teeth (tlantli) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Xiloxochitlan, where it played a phonetic role in naming the locative suffix -tlan. Here, however, since we are singling out this element especially, we are naming it a logogram for teeth. We shall see if it ever appears with the intentional reading of teeth. The teeth here vary from the upper front teeth with the red gums, instead appearing as both upper and lower teeth in a mouth that is imbedded in a tree. The teeth are in a profile view, and they are white. Red gums are omitted.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

As Gordon Whittaker has recognized, the upper and lower teeth together are typically used in the Codex Mendoza to refer to the -titlan locative suffix (which includes the -ti-), and -tlan alone is represented by the upper front teeth. The original compound hieroglyph from which this element was carved, however, does not include the -ti- ligature, an exception to the rule.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


place, locative, teeth, lugares, topónimos, dientes

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

los dientes

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 50 recto,, image 110 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).