zacatl (Mdz50r)

zacatl (Mdz50r)
Element from a Compound

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This element for zacatl (grasses, hay, forage) has been carved from the compound sign for the place name, Acazacatlan. In this example, the grasses have been extracted from an interwoven group of reeds, which results in the false impression that they are chopped up. The stalks are feathery or fluffy, painted yellow, and originally consisted of a group of four, full stalks.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Zacate comes in many varieties, and it can have a fluffy flower in some cases. In our Online Nahuatl Dictionary, one can see that the collection of grasses or hay for fodder could be an occupation or duty/service, zacate could be mentioned in testaments as important property, and it could be bought and sold.

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, Xitlali Torres


paja, heno, popotes

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

zaca(tl), grasses, hay, straw, fodder, forage,

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 


Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

el zacate

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Image Source: 

Codex Mendoza, folio 50 recto,, image 110 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).