tletl (Mdz13r)

tletl (Mdz13r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This red bifurcating flame, with a turquoise band across the middle, is one of many that emerge from temples that are tipped askew and burning on this folio of the Codex Mendoza, each one representing a conquered pueblo. Besides this type of flame, which is abundant, there are others that are equally abundant, also painted red, but with a wider shape and three points instead of two. Also, some of the flames such as this one have a red band at the middle (in place of the turquoise one) or no band at all. We have not included here the smoke symbols that shoot off from the flames, but they might be a required pairing. The flames are a grayish purple with an inner orange core.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

When examined closely, flames typically have a blue component, where the flame is the hottest. This may be why we see a turquoise element on this flame. When the turquoise component is not present, it may be owing to the fact that the orange or red parts of flames are the most obvious. The scarlet macaw feathers that had an association with flames, owing to their resemblance, are also found in this collection to be either solid red or with turquoise tips. The bifurcated shape of the flame is also reminiscent of the serpent's tongue (see below, right).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss 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

Shapes and Perspectives: 
SVG of Glyph: 
SVG Image, Credit: 

Joseph Scott and Crystal Boulton-Scott made the SVG.


fire, fires, flame, flames, plumes

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

fire, flame

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el fuego, la flama, la llama

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 
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).