Tlilpotonqui (MH573v)

Tlilpotonqui (MH573v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound glyph for the personal name or title, Tlilpotonqui (a"Stinky-Sticky Black Feather Ritual Device," attested here as a man's name), features a round black (tlilli) object. The ball could be rubber, which could be considered a stinky potonqui and sticky substance, possibly what was used for attaching feathers to a priest's ritual device. Short black lines radiate from the ball, perhaps they are feathers. Alternatively, the short lines could be a visual representation of the odor.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Tlilpotonqui has multiple possible translations. It could refer to a child born outside of marriage. It was also 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, including one that seems to have just one staff covered with feathers. 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.

See also the Yauhpotonqui glyph, below. This suggests a possible connection to incense offerings.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

peo. tlilpotonq~

Gloss Normalization: 

Pedro Tlilpotonqui

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

black, negro, feathers, plumas

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: 
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: