tzontli (TR21r)

tzontli (TR21r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example of a priestly ponytail or bound lock of hair, the tzontli, has been carved from a blood-letting scene as shown in the contextualizing image. Here, as seen in some glyphs, the priest's hair is wrapped tightly with a red leather thong. The ponytail of dark brown or black hair is standing upright.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The tzontli can vary greatly in the Codex Mendoza and other codices from this type of ponytail (or hank of hair) to something that looks like a tree, a feather, or a group of blades of grass (see below). In Spanish, a similar red leather tie is called a "cinta de cuero rojo," employed in the process of tying up one's hair to be converted into a warrior, according to Guy Stresser-Péan (1995, 45). (See our Bibliography for the full citation to his study.) When worn by a warrior, this hairstyle could also be called the temilotli.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1550–1563

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

pelo atado con una cinta de cuero rojo

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Telleriano-Remensis Codex, folio 21 recto, MS Mexicain 385, Gallica digital collection,

Image Source, Rights: 

The non-commercial reuse of images from the Bibliothèque nationale de France is free as long as the user is in compliance with the legislation in force and provides the citation: “Source / Bibliothèque nationale de France” or “Source / BnF.”

Historical Contextualizing Image: