Tlilpotonqui (MH488r)

Tlilpotonqui (MH488r)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the simplex glyph for the personal name Tlilpotonqui (a "Stinky-Sticky Black Feather Ritual Device," attested here as a man's name) shows a staff at an angle, leaning to the right. It may have small black feathers along the top of the stick, attached to it by some kind of stinky (potonqui) and sticky substance--perhaps rubber?

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Tlilpotonqui has multiple possible translations. It was a priestly name that some say refers to black dust or a black stinky substance, apparently involving an adornment (perhaps a staff) that was glued with black feathers. See below for other examples. The name was held by some illustrious figures, including Quetzalcoatl and Miguel Tlilpotonqui, the son of Tlacaelel and grandson of Huitzilihuitl. See the Online Nahuatl Dictionary for more information.

Magnus Pharao Hansen wrote this when trying to translate Tlilpotonqui (which he found in the Morelos census of 1544): "'he stinks black'?". [See his blog at: That translation could work literally, but the ritual dimension seems important for clarifying that the reference is probably not to bodily odor.

Along with other examples of Tlilpotonqui, see the Yauhpotonqui glyph, below. This suggests a possible connection to incense offerings.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

diego tlilpotogui

Gloss Normalization: 

Diego Tlilpotonqui

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Xitlali Torres

Shapes and Perspectives: 

black, negro, feathers, plumas, olor, odor

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

tlilpotonqui, a personal name, a title, a priest who wore a feather adornment, or a rare bean,
tlil(li), black color, soot, ink,,
potonqui, dusty or stinky,
potoni, dust,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

(objeto ritual de plumas negras apestosas)

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Manuel Orozco y Berra, Historia antigua y de la conquista de México (1960, 403).

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 488r, World Digital Library,

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: