Xaltocan (Mdz3v)

Xaltocan (Mdz3v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Xaltocan involves sand (xalli) surrounding a spider (tocatl). What appears to be a spider web comes out of its rear end. The xalli involves a large number of dots circling around the spider. The spider is a gray or purple in color, with an oval body with lines crossing it. There is a red spot at the end of the body where the web emerges or connects. Two front legs are visible. The head is round, in profile looking to the viewer's right, with two visible white teeth or fangs and a white eye. It has two antennae going in opposite directions.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The association between the color red and bodily orifices is worth exploring. See our article on the side bar about red and yellow interiors.

Elizabeth Hill Boone translates Xaltocan as "Sand Spider," which may be the best analysis for now. This place was allegedly given to a Chichimec immigrant named Chicomecuauh, who was treated well by Xolotl. [See her Stories in Red and Black (2000), 185.]

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

xaltocan__ puo

Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

araña arañas, spiders, nombres de lugares, topónimos

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

The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, hold the original manuscript, the MS. Arch. Selden. A. 1. This image is published here under the UK Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0).