tonalpohualli (Mglb11v)

tonalpohualli (Mglb11v)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic detail from the Codex Magliabechi shows four day signs (simplex glyphs) from the tonalpohualli, a 260-day calendar, with associated numbers (in notation). These signs include the tecpatl (flint knife), quiyahuitl (rain), xochitl (flower), and cipactli (crocodile). Each of these signs, as is typical, has a changeable companion number, one through four, respectively, in this case. The notation is shown as circles. The one is a blue circle with a red dot in the middle. The two involves two yellow circles with red dots in the middle. The three is blue again, and the four is yellow, and all the circles have red dots. Each sign is painted in a colorful way. The rain sign coincides with a representation of the sacred force or spirit of rain (Tlaloc), with his starry eye and blue swirling cloud forms around his eye and over his mouth (with many fangs). Spiky points cover the outside of the head of the cipactli. The flower has a red and white bow at its base. A similar bow is tied around the middle of the flint, and each one red and white, divided on an angle. The flint also has a face in profile, looking toward the viewer's left. The eye is what's called a starry or stellar eye (given that it can also serve as a star in the night sky), and it has a turquoise blue brow. Fangs protrude from its mouth. The texts below each day sign are in Nahuatl and Spanish.

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 calendars played a significant role in Nahuas' religious views of the cosmos.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

between 1529 and 1553

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

central Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood


pedernales, lluvia, flores, caimanes, días, fechas, calendarios, cipac, 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: 

The Codex Magliabechi (or Magliabechiano), a page published by Wikipedia, from folio 11 verso,

Image Source, Rights: 

(public domain image)