yacatl (Mdz42r)

yacatl (Mdz42r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for nose (yacatl) has been carved from the compound glyph for the place name Tepeyacac. Here, the nose has been detached from the tepetl) (hill or mountain). The nose is in profile, outlined in black ink, and colored a flesh-tone. The green around it is what remains of the hill that has been carved away.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The phonetic element for yacatl), "yaca," typically appears as an attachment to other glyphic elements in compounds, for example, as an appendage to a ceramic pot or, in the case of this particular one, a mountainside. "Nose" was not literally intended in many place names, but rather it indicated a landscape feature such as a peak, ridge, or a point. In alphabetic textual usage, yacatl often referred to someone or something "in the lead," and in one metaphor or riddle asking what is that "hill" (tepetl) from which there is a flow, the answer was "the nose." This would raise, once again, the association of water (in the form of natural springs) emerging from mountains, which may be the basis for altepetl, the term that referred to a town.

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

Cultural Content & Iconography: 
Cultural Content, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Shapes and Perspectives: 
SVG of Glyph: 
SVG Image, Credit: 

Crystal Boulton-Scott made the SVG.



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

yaca(tl), nose, peak, or the point of something, https://nahuatl.wired-humanities.org/content/yacatl

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

nose, point, peak, ridge

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

la nariz, o la punta de algo

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 42 recto, https://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/objects/2fea788e-2aa2-4f08-b6d9-648c00..., image 94 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).