Xolotl (Mdz51r)

Xolotl (Mdz51r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for the deity name Xolotl has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Xonoctlan.This is one of two examples of Xolotl from the Codex Mendoza. They are both multicolored anthropomorphized dog heads. This one is in profile, facing to the viewer's right. It wears an elaborate earring or ear plug. A black vertical line is painted or tattooed down the face, running behind the eye and catching the corner of the mouth. The face forward of the line is painted yellow, and behind it, purple. The ear is red. The ear plug, red and white. Two tufts of hair/fur on the top of the head are yellow. The eye is white, as are some of the teeth. But the teeth may also be partially red, or the red in the mouth may intend an upper gum.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Our Online Nahuatl Dictionary explains the multiple uses of the name and term Xolotl in Nahuatl. But this image aligns most closely with "god of lightning and death, typically depicted as a dog-headed man." Compare the rendition of this glyph with the other one from the Mendoza (below, right), where the colors are somewhat different. The other one also has wrinkles on its cheek, seemingly adding a phonetic indicator for xolochtic.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Source Manuscript: 
Date of Manuscript: 

c. 1541, or by 1553 at the latest

Creator's Location (and place coverage): 

Mexico City

Semantic Categories: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood, Xitlali Torres


deidades, fuerzas divinas, perros, pintura facial

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

Xolotl, god of lightning and death, typically depicted as a dog-headed man, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xolotl
xoloitzcuin(tli), a native Mexican nearly hairless dog, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/xoloitzcuintli

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

Xolotl (deity name)

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 51 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 112 of 118.

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).