xiuhatlatl (TR6v)

xiuhatlatl (TR6v)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This example of iconography shows a xiuhatlatl (a turquoise spear thrower or dart thrower) held by a hand coming in from the viewer's left. The spear or dart thrower, painted largely turquoise blue, has a hook at the top, a tiered decoration in the middle of the handle, and a red (leather?) tie at the bottom of the handle. The curving hook seems to have four, tan, upright, spiky thorns attached to it, climbing toward the top. The decoration in the middle of the handle starts with a horizontal row of tan, then, below that, a segmented green row, then a red horizontal stripe, and, finally, a horizontal stripe of turquoise blue. The very bottom of the handle is obscured by a shield in the contextual image. The hand appears to have multiple layers of bracelets, including a pink tie. All of these decorations suggest that this is a ceremonial dart thrower.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

For more information on the atlatl, see Mexicolore, such as this article by Ian Mursell or the one by John Whittaker. These dart throwers do not have the hook that this one has.

The atlatl, which has a Nahuatl name and was popular with the Aztecs, is found in archaeological sites as far north as what is now Utah. It can be seen on display, for instance, at the museum on the campus of the University of Utah. It was hugely popular in the Mixteca, and is found in the Maya zone. Its purpose was to extend the force of the arm in throwing projectiles in hunting and, by the post-Classic period especially, in war. According to John Pohl (Aztec Warrior, 2012, 18), it could increase the speed of the projectile by twenty times. Dozens of books have been written about the atlatl, as there is a global fascination with this object.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 


Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 

lanzadores, ceremoniales, deidades, divinidades, atlatl

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

xiuhatla(tl), a blue dart thrower, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xiuhatlatl
xiuh-, a prefix that refers to a blue-green color, or something turquoise, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xiuh-1
atla(tl), a type of weapon launcher for spears or darts, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/atlatl

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el lanzador azul de dardos o flechas

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

The Codex Telleriano-Remensis is hosted on line by the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8458267s/f38.item. We have taken this detail shot from folio 6 verso.

Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is not copyright protected, but please cite Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France or cite this Visual Lexicon of Aztec Hieroglyphs, ed. Stephanie Wood (Eugene, Ore.: Wired Humanities Projects, 2020–present).

Historical Contextualizing Image: