tlapana (Mdz29r)

tlapana (Mdz29r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Tetlapanaloyan can also represent the action of splitting a stone (the verb, tlapana). An arm with a (left) hand holds a stone. Below that, we see a larger, oval, horizontal stone with a v-shaped piece missing along the top. Both stones have purple and terracotta-colored wavy stripes and curling elements at the ends that are so indicative of the stone glyph (tetl). A couple of examples of tetl have been provided, below right.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Presumably, the person using the smaller stone to hit the larger stone has already broken a chunk out of the larger stone. That this is a verb is implied by the action indicated. It is also easy to isolate the verb in the middle of the place name (tlapana) after taking off the Te- (impersonal, and further phonetically represented by the stone, tetl). The -lo- is also impersonal, noting that rocks are broken without specifying anyone and the -yan locative suffix that typically attaches to a verb, explaining that this action is customary, as Frances Karttunen explains. [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.] So, the result is that this is a place where rocks were probably quarried and shaped or crushed.

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

Shapes and Perspectives: 

stones, rocks, splitting, breaking, rocas, piedras, quebrar

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

Codex Mendoza, folio 29 recto,, image 68 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

Original manuscript is held by the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1; used here with the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0)