Xochitlatoa (MH506r)

Xochitlatoa (MH506r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This black-line drawing of the compound glyph for the personal name Xochitlatoa (or Xochitlahtoa, when including the glottal stop), perhaps meaning "He Speaks Flowers," shows two upright flowers (xochitl), leaning slightly toward the viewer's right and emerging from the mouth of the person who holds this name. It is as though the man is speaking (tlatoa) the flowers.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The gloss for Xochitlatoa has a diacritic suggesting the name ends with an "n," but we are not including it in our suggested orthography. The lines on Diego Xochitlahtoa's face may indicate that he is aged, and perhaps therefore wise and one who speaks well.

Flowers appear here where one might expect to see speech scrolls. Flowery speech is a known form of speech. In contemporary Nahuatl, one with flowery speech is a poet. [See: Delfino Hernández Hernández, “Xochitlajtouani: El Poeta,” in Yancuic Nahua Zazanilli: Nueva Narrativa, Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, 1985.] Pamela Sandstrom says of flowery speech: "We do know that poetic, well-arranged words in the Nahuatl language were believed to be exceptionally powerful tools for addressing deities and setting things right. Flowery speech coupled with ritual action were the most effective means the Aztecs possessed to keep the forces of chaos at bay." [See her answer to a question published by Mexicolore in 2021.]

See below for various, wide-ranging visual expressions for the word tlahtoa.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 


Gloss Normalization: 

Diego Xochitlahtoa (or Xochitlatoan, Xochitlatohuan)

Gloss Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Date of Manuscript: 


Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Huejotzingo, Puebla, Mexico

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Jeff Haskett-Wood


flores, poesía, palabras floridas

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

Matrícula de Huexotzinco, folio 506r, World Digital Library, https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcwdl.wdl_15282/?sp=91&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: