Tzihuacmitl (MH526r)

Tzihuacmitl (MH526r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound glyph for the personal name Tzihuacmitl ("Agave-Stalk-Arrow," attested here as a man’s name) shows a frontal view of a tree (cuahuitl), apparently used phonetically here to represent the small agave with a spiny flower stalk, the (tzihuactli). To the left of the tree is the arrow. Segmentation is visible in the reed (what is called carrizo in Spanish and acatl in Nahuatl?) from which the arrow has been made. The arrow has the usual feather decorations (one wing feather and one down feather), and this one has a notably carved arrowhead.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

One example of a glyph for the name Tzihuacmitl shows an arrow with part of a cactus (below). But other glyphs for tzihuactli can have the appearance of a tree (cuahuitl) that has had its branches cut off haphazardly. Perhaps this tree or wood is there to underwrite the phonetic "hua" syllable in tzihuactli, given that "cua" and "hua" have a similar sound. See the image of the tzihuactli plant in Book 11 of the Florentine Codex, which shows a spiny flower stalk.

A metaphorical use of tzihuactli is found in the huehuetlatolli (“elders’ wisdom; words of the elders”) compiled under the leadership of Fray Andrés de Olmos. In the published version’s glossary, an editor’s note tells us that “in the original Nahuatl, tzihuactli, teteihuitl, is a diphrasism that refers to two objects [used in] sacrificial rites.”

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

juā tzivacmitl

Gloss Normalization: 

Juan Tzihuacmitl

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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

magueyes, flechas, dardas

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

tzihuacmi(tl), agave-stalk arrow,
mi(tl), arrow or dart,
tzihuac(tli), small agave plant with a spiny flower stalk,

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 526r, 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: