Tonal (MH623r)

Tonal (MH623r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound personal name Tonal (seemingly, "Solar Animating Force,") shows the head of a man, who is apparently the person affected by this tonalli. Interestingly, this is not a sun but a plant with a resident hummingbird. Perhaps the hummingbird was like a personal nahualli (shape-shifting spirit that guides a person).

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The location of the plant and hummingbird on top of the human head provides a semantic indicator for tonalli, suggesting that the personal animating force was believed to be located at the top of the head, similar to the nahualli. See an example, below. José Rabasa describes the tonalli as "forces linking the individual with the cosmos" [See his article "Writing and Evangelization in Sixteenth-Century Mexico" in the edited volume, Early Images of the Americas: Transfer and Invention (2022), eds. Jerry M. Williams and ‎ Robert E. Lewis, p. 84.]

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Pedro Tonal

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Semantic Categories: 
Writing Features: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

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

tonal, tonalli, fuerza personal, colibrí, colibríes

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

tonal(li), day, sun, personal animating force,

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Tonal o Tonalli

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 623r, 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: