xihuitl (Mdz20v)

xihuitl (Mdz20v)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for turquoise (xihuitl), the gem and the color, has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Tlazoxiuhco. It has four small circles around the perimeter of a large circle. Another concentric circle appears inside the larger circle. Thus, it has a quincunx shape. Everything is colored turquoise with the exception of two small, vertical, almond-like shapes inside the innermost circle, which are left blank. Often, as seen in other examples of the xihuitl hieroglyph, these inner areas are painted red.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The iconography of this turquoise gem may suggest a shimmer or shine in the small circles around the perimeter, as they are reminiscent of the small circles on the outside of the chalchihuitl (jade), the tezcatl (mirror), and the tonatiuh (sun, day). Water droplets that splash off of the atl glyph (along with shells) also catch the light and may suggest shine.

Added 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

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 20 verso, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 51 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).