xihuitl (Mxnus19)

xihuitl (Mxnus19)
Simplex Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This simplex glyph represents the word for year (xihuitl). It is a frontal view of a red circle filled with turquoise (xihuitl) mosaic pieces (tesserae). The large piece in the center has a triangular shape. Other pieces vary considerably in their shapes.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The red outlining on the turquoise mosaic seems to point the viewer toward a calendrical reading (in contrast to a reading of the turquoise stone, or herbs, or the blue color on a flame). Some dates are boxed in with a square of a different color, but here the year sign is encircled.

For some excellent examples of turquoise mosaics from Mexico that are in the British Museum, see Elizabeth M. Carmichael, Turquoise Mosaics from Mexico (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1970), and Colin McEwan et al, Turquoise Mosaics from Mexico (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006).

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 

ca. 1590

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Shapes and Perspectives: 

years, años, turquesa, mosáicos, teselas, mosaics, mosaicos, xiuhpohualli, turquesa, xihuitl

Museum & Rare Book Comparisons: 
Museum/Rare Book Notes: 

This is an inlaid turquoise mosaic ear spool, Postclassic Mixtec, in the Kislak Collection, Library of Congress. Photograph by Stephanie Wood, April 2023.

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

https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_15284/?sp=19&st=image. This image is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library, but the manuscript is part of the holdings of Bibliothèque nationale de France and the original source is gallica.bnf.fr/BNF.

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 gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France” or “Source gallica.bnf.fr / BnF.”