Xicaltepec (Mdz46r)


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Xicaltepec (Mdz46r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

In this compound glyph for the place name Xicaltepec, there are two prominent elements. One is a gourd vessel, cup, or jar (xicalli), and it sits atop a mountain or hill (tepetl) of the typical two-toned green bell shape with rocky outcroppings on the slopes and the red and yellow horizontal lines at the base. The xicalli, here, is trapezoidal in shape and painted turquoise blue. It has a horizontal black line near the top and two vertical has marks on the side facing the viewer.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

It seems there may be an error in this glyph. The double-stroke "hua" phonetic syllable that appears in the middle of the xicalli is not part of the place name Xicaltepec. It should be part of a similar place name, Xicalhuacan, but not this one, which does not have a "hua" syllable.

Our Online Nahuatl Dictionary includes an example of a blue xicalli, mentioned in the Florentine Codex. Other examples include a green stone xicalli, and one made from red straw. The xicalli was used to measure corn kernels; Chimalpahin mentions a gourd of maize costing 1/2 real. Other examples include using a xicalli for hand washing. The word entered Spanish as jícara.

Not shown visually, the locative suffix (-c) adheres to the "tepe" root, resulting in a meaning of "at" or "on the mountain."

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, but by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

mountains, hills, double-strike sign, double-stroke sign

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

-tepec, on the hill or mountain, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/tepec

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 46 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 102 of 188.

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).