tletl (Mglb71r)

tletl (Mglb71r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example of fire is really glyphic, especially when compared to other examples from the hieroglyphs of the Codex Mendoza. The fire here is from the Codex Magliagechi, foio 71 recto. The heart of the fire is a small round circle with an array of finger-like flames coming up and out from the base. It is yellow. Surrounding it is a red-orange glow. This part of the fire is entirely contained within a blue box, somewhat reminiscent of the way year dates are boxed in. The fire in the box is shown as a frontal view, and also somewhat cross-sectioned. The top part of the box has a light gray section, and coming up through that gray and going outside of the box are some larger flames. Beyond that the dark gray smoke begins to emerge. Because this iconographic example is not glossed, the decision as to which Nahuatl terms to connect to it is based on the kinds of comparisons discussed here.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The heart of the fire here is very similar to the fire used in the hieroglyph for tlachinolli in the Codex Mendoza (see below). Given that tlachinolli (conflagration) is often paired with atl (typically, here, to mean flood) in a metaphor for destruction, perhaps the blue box here is meant to recall water, although it does not have the other usual hallmarks of water, such as currents, swirls, shells, and droplets/beads. The larger flames in this iconographic sample from the Magliabechi recall the shape of the flames from one of the burning temples in the Codex Mendoza, folio 3 verso (see below) and the flames coming from the tlemaitl (hand-held incense burner) on folio 63 r.. Other flames in the Mendoza will often be bifurcated and have a blue ring around the flame just below the bifurcation (see below). Flames often do have a blue element to them, but this blue could possibly alternatively point to the association of fire with water.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


fires, fuegos, flames, llamas, xiuhpohualli, año

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el fuego

Image Source: 

Images of the Magrliabechi Codex are hosted by FAMSI at They were taken from the Codex Magliabechiano CL. XIII.e (B.R. 232) published in 1970 by Akademische Druk - u. Verlagsanstalt - Graz. This is the best facsimile available.

Image Source, Rights: 

We are borrowing less than 10% of the images from this manuscript. The details from the Magliabechi Codex that are shared here fall under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. Please only reproduce these images for non-profit and educational purposes, and if you do reproduce an image, please site the FAMSI website,, and the Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs,

Historical Contextualizing Image: