Xiuhnel (MH772v)

Xiuhnel (MH772v)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This drawing of a compound glyph for the name Xiuhnel ("Incapable," "Morning Star," or "Cloud Serpent," attested here an a man's name) consists of a cluster of four rectangular with a green herb plant in the center. The term xihuitl can also refer to green herbs, so perhaps that is what the leaf means in this compount.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The small rectangular shapes of this glyph are likely turquoise pieces (tesserae) of the type that were used in mosaics. 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 Online Nahuatl Dictionary 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.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


turquoise, mosaic, tesserae, teselas, turquesa, mosáicos, hojas verdes, plantas, Morning Star, Cloud Serpent, creencias, rectángulos, serpiente de las nubes, estrella de la mañana, incapaz, nombres de hombres

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

Xiuhnel, a name, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xiuhnel
xihui(tl), turquoise stones and green herbs, https_--nahuatl.wired-humanities.org-content-xihuitl-0

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

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

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 772v, World Digital Library, https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_15282/?sp=619&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: 
See Also: