tonalpohualli (FCbk4f55r)

tonalpohualli (FCbk4f55r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example from the Florentine Codex shows eight day signs (and their companion numbers) from the religious tonalpohualli (260-day divinatory calendar). This sample includes, starting from the top left: Ce Calli (One House), Ome Cuetzpalin (Two Lizard), Eyi Coatl (Three Serpent), Nahui Miquiztli (Four Death), Macuilli Mazatl (Five Deer), Chicuace Tochtli (Six Rabbit), Chicome Coatl (Seven Serpent, this one is out of order given that, in the normal order of days, atl or water would follow), and Chicuey Itzcuintli (Eight Dog). This book of the Florentine Codex discusses the pros and cons of being born on certain days in the calendar.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

See William L. Barnes' explanation of the two Aztec calendars (the tonalpohualli and the xiuhpohualli, counts of the days and the years, respectively) in his article published by Mexicolore,

The mistake in the order of the day signs is curious. Was this tlacuilo forgetting the old patterns? Sometimes, in the glyphs for names from the tonalpohualli in the 1560 Matrícula de Huexotzinco, either the number is omitted or the day name is missing, which could suggest a faulty memory. Another explanation in those cases could be that the tlacuilo was trying to disguise the fact that families had still been naming their babies by using the ancient calendar, with all of its Indigenous religious significance.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


xiuhpohualli, año, turquesa, xihuitl

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

la cuenta de los días

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Florentine Codex, World Digital Library and Library of Congress,,0..., image 111 of 188.

Image Source, Rights: 

The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection. Absent any such restrictions, these materials are free to use and reuse. Researchers are encouraged to review the source information attached to each item. If you do publish anything from this database, please cite the Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs.