Acamilixtlahuacan (Mdz36r)

Acamilixtlahuacan (Mdz36r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Acamilixtlahuacan has three notable elements. The alternating, sectioned, orange-gray or orange-purple band across the bottom is a reference to land, in this case both mīlli (cultivated fields) and ixtlāhuatl) (plains). Sitting atop the land are three upside-down eyes, īxtli, with red lids and white pupils and eyeballs. Only the land is shown in a bird's eye view. Above, the land, in an elevation view, is a pair of turquoise-colored reed plants (ācatl). The locative suffix -cān is not shown visually, but the landscape may represent it.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

The eyes (ixtli) are there as a phonetic indicator to underscore the reading of ixtlahuatl) (plains) as opposed to, for instance, tlalli (land). Berdan and Anawalt have suggested that the eyes are intentionally upside down to call forth īxtlapal, which sounds like ixtlahuatl. But Frances Karttunen says that īxtlapal is closer to "sideways" than "reversed" or "inverted." (Source: Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.)

Symbols on the land, such as dots (seeds?) and u-shapes lying on their sides, open to the right, may refer to the agricultural activity or agricultural potential of the land (given that milli is usually cultivated). Growing out of the land are two turquoise or blue-green reed (acatl) plants. For a slightly different representation of land (tlalli, in this case), see the glyph for Teotlalpan published by the University of California, Berkeley.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

acamilyxtlahuacā puo

Gloss Normalization: 

Acamilixtlahuacan, pueblo (Acamixtla, state of Guerrero, today)

Gloss 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

SVG of Glyph: 
SVG Image, Credit: 

Joseph and Crystal Boulton Scott

Parts (compounds or simplex + notation): 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 
Reading Order, Notes: 

The reading order starts at the top with aca(tl) (reeds), goes down to mil(li) (agricultural field), back up to ix(tli) (eyes), and then settles on ixtlahua(tl) (plains, which is also represented by the horizontal land rectangle).


plants, eyes, cultivation, fields, agriculture,

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

"Reed-Bed Plain" [Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.]

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"Place of the Plain of Cultivated Fields of Reeds" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 167)

Image Source: 
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).