Atenanco (Mdz37r)

Atenanco (Mdz37r)
Compound Glyph

Glyph or Iconographic Image Description: 

This compound glyph for the place name Atenanco includes turquoise-blue water (atl) pouring across the top and over the right-hand corner of the parapet or rampart (tenantli or tenamitl). The water has typical lines of current and turbinate shells and droplets/beads (perhaps chalchihuitl, local jade beads) splashing off the flow. The tenamitl is outlined in turquoise blue, with a red interior. The stepped shape of the three protrusions along the top of the parapet harkens back to Teotihuacan (Classic Period) days. Somewhat similar shapes also appear in the glyph for Huapalcalpan in the Codex Mendoza, shown here, below right. The circular symbols of power and prestige (turquoise blue with red centers) along the lower portion of the parapet (which would have sat atop a temple or palace, such as that seen on the Butterfly Palace in Teotihuacan) are similarly historical.

Description, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Added Analysis: 

Red was a common color for Mesoamerican buildings. The painting of Huitzilopochtli's temple (the one on the right of the twin temples in Diego Durán's representation of them in The History of the Indies of New Spain (1579), looks much like this tenantli, in its shapes and colors. A sixteenth-century building in Teposcolula, Oaxaca, survives today with these circular symbols along the top of the Casa de la Cacica (House of the Indigenous Noble Woman). The Tecpan glyph in the Codex Mendoza, below right, also shows these round shapes in the architectural design. Berdan and Anawalt (The Codex Mendoza, 1992, v. 1, p. 172) share how J. Cooper Clark found this town name was prevalent for settlements located on rivers, and if this is the town of Atenango del Río, that would be fitting. Beyond that, constructions that involved the management of water (dikes, drains, sluices, chinampa walls) are also well known in Aztec archaeology. Tenamitl (a term akin to tenantli), and it may be a concept cousin to chinamitl.

The atenamitl) (dike, parapet, eaves) is another dictionary word that could well be the root intended for this glyph. It combines water with fortification. This would support a reading made by Karttunen about a place protected by a moat. Flood control was a concern in the Basin of Mexico.

Added Analysis, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

Gloss Image: 
Gloss Diplomatic Transcription: 

atenanco. puº

Gloss Normalization: 

Atenanco, pueblo (possibly Atenango del Río, 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: 
Reading Order (Compounds or Simplex + Notation): 

walls, fortifications, dykes, moats, water, shells, paredes, fortificaciones, murallas, agua, calzada, acequia, dique, foso, muros, cercas, tenantli, merlons, almenas

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

"Place Protected with a Moat" {Frances Karttunen, unpublished manuscript, used here with her permission.)

Additional Scholars' Interpretations: 

"On the Wall of Water" (Berdan and Anawalt, 1992, vol. 1, p. 172)

Glyph/Icon Name, Spanish Translation: 

"Lugar con una Fortificación Contra el Agua" o "Lugar del Dique"

Spanish Translation, Credit: 

Stephanie Wood

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).