Xiuhnel (MH485r)

Xiuhnel (MH485r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the personal name Xiuhnel ("Incapable," "Morning Star," or "Cloud Serpent," attested here an a man's name) has two principal components. One is a group of four small rectangles and, above them, possibly stepping on them, is a foot and leg. The leg is shown in profile, facing toward the viewer's right. The foot could provide a "xo" phonetic complement (something like "xiuh," although not quite). The small rectangles are pieces of turquoise of the type that would be used in a mosaic (tesserae), something supported by other examples in the collection.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The small rectangular shapes are likely turquoise pieces of the type that were used in mosaics (tesserae). Some MH examples of the name Xiuhnel have turquoise-blue coloring which supports this interpretation for the lot of them. For extensive examples of turquoise tesserae, see the appendices of Conceptualization of 'Xihuitl' (2008), by Matzumi Izeki. This collection also includes an iconographic example of turquoise [xihuitl that shows pieces of the stone made into a small, round mosaic (below).

At first glance the name Xiuhnel appears to be a compound of xihuitl (turquoise) and nelli (true). James Lockhart suggests that -nel-, when in combinations, could lose that meaning, as noted in the OND under the term nelli. But there is a xiuhnel meaning "incapable" according to Wimmer 2004 (included in the Gran Diccionario Náhuatl). Perhaps more appealing for a person's name is the one provided by a human origin story written in Nahuatl in 1558. In that story Xiuhnel was a cloud serpent, according to an article by Willard Gingerich. Some also say Xiuhnel is the morning star. If so, then the rectangular shapes may relate to that.

This name awaits a more definitive translation.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

augustín xiuhnel

Gloss Normalization: 

Agustín Xiuhnel

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

feet, legs, pies, piernas, rectángulos, teselas, tesserae, turquesas, estrellas, mosaics, mosaicos, estrella de la mañana, rectángulos, serpiente de las nubes, incapaz, nombres de hombres

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

Xiuhnel, a personal name, incapable, Cloud Serpent, or Morning Star, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xiuhnel
xihui(tl), a year, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xihuitl
xihui(tl), green thing or turquoise, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xihuitl-0
nel(li), a true thing, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/nelli

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Incapaz, La Estrella de la Mañana, or La Serpiente de las Nubes

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 485r, World Digital Library, https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_15282/?sp=45&st=image.

Image Source, Rights: 

This manuscript is hosted by the Library of Congress and the World Digital Library; used here with the Creative Commons, “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License” (CC-BY-NC-SAq 3.0).

Historical Contextualizing Image: