Xiuhtecuhtli (Mdz13r)

Xiuhtecuhtli (Mdz13r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element from the compound glyph for the place name Xiuhteczacatlan displays the personification of the divine force, Xiuhtecuhtli, associated with fire, but with the added grasses called zacatl coming out of the top of a red headband with turquoise ornamentation, including a curling piece above the forehead. Right near that curling piece on the forehead, the red band changes to pink. Another red band, perhaps face paint, is parallel with the head band, and it links another curling piece of turquoise at the nose to a turquoise ear ornament.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The colors red and turquoise are both linked to this divinity because, as Christian Roy (Traditional Festivals, 2005, 211) has stated, "turquoise was the symbolic equivalent of fire for Aztec priests." Eloise Quiñones Keber (Codex Telleriano-Remensis, 1995, 141) identifies Xiuhtecuhtli as the "Turquoise Lord" and a "fire god." Mutsumi Izeki (Conceptualization of 'Xihuitl,', 2008, 34–35) identifies fire and the color red as an "extended sense" of xihuitl as exemplified in Xiuhtecuhtli, a divine force often called the "god of fire," the "god of year," and the "god of turquoise." Notice how the glyph for turquoise stone has some red leaf shapes in the middle, and glyphs for xihuitl as "year" can also have red highlights. All of these features represent visual associations of color with fire and precious stones, and with the sun, the calendar, and religious beliefs and practices (such as the drilling of fire at the end of a 52-year calendrical cycle where years were represented by turquoise.

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, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood, Xitlali Torres

Shapes and Perspectives: 

divinidades, fuerzas divinas, fuerzas sagradas, fuego, turquesa, xiuhpohualli, año, turquesa, xihuitl

Glyph or Iconographic Image: 
Relevant Nahuatl Dictionary Word(s): 
Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

Xiuhtecuhtli (nombre de una divinidad)

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 13 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 36 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).