Xolotl (Mdz20r)

Xolotl (Mdz20r)

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This iconographic example for Xolotl (the deity and/or ancestor-ruler that is typically presented as part human, part dog) is quite different from the other one we offer. This one is also outlined in black, but is painted with multiple colors. It is a head in profile facing to the viewer's left. There is a black line (face paint? a tattoo?) cutting the head in half vertically and running behind the one eye that we can see. The eye is white with a large black pupil. The face is largely painted yellow. The mouth is open and teeth are visible. The ear (or earring) is yellow and red. Atop the head are two short yellow crown-like features. Behind the head is an elaborate headdress with layered pink and black feathers close to the head and, farther out, long green quetzal feathers.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Some renditions of Xolotl seem dog-like, with sharp protruding teeth and wrinkled faces. The Mexican hairless dog called the xoloitzcuintli has wrinkles.

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

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 

deities, deidades, fuerzas divinas, divine forces, dogs, perros, aging, envejeciendo, feathers, plumas

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

Xolotl, a deity whose name was shared by a ruler of the Chichimecs, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xolotl
xoloitzcuin(tli), a native Mexican (almost) hairless dog, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xoloitzcuintli

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 20 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 50 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).