Tlilpotonqui (MH617v)

Tlilpotonqui (MH617v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound glyph for the personal name or title, Tlilpotonqui ("Sticky-Stinky Black Feather Ritual Device," attested here as a man's name), features a round black (tlilli) object with short lines radiating from it. The round object is reminiscent of rubber (olli), which can be both stinky (potonqui) and sticky and could be used for sticking feathers to a ritual object. The short lines could be a visual representation of the odor or the stickiness.

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. The priest seems to have had an adornment that was glued with black feathers. Below, some examples of the device appear to be sticks covered with black feathers. The name was held by some illustrious figures, including Quetzalcoatl and Miguel Tlilpotonqui, the son of Tlacaelel and the grandson of Huitzilopochtli. 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'?" 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 tlilpotogui

Gloss Normalization: 

Pedro Tlilpotonqui

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


plumas negras pegadas

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 617v, 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: