Turquiose diadem

David Wright dcwright at prodigy.net.mx
Tue May 20 22:54:08 UTC 2008



Here’s a reference to the turquoise diadem from the Florentine Codex (vol.
1, libro 2, capitulo 37, f. 154v [vol. pagination], f. 100v [book
pagination]; Dibble & Anderson, book 2, p. 164).


“[...] ocontlali xiuhvitzolli, in tlatocaiotl”.


So Sahagun’s Nahuatl-speaking scholars give the same spelling as Simeon and
Seler; of course, the v is an allograph of the graph (letter) u, in this
case representing the semiconsonant /w/.


The next question is how the Sahagun people used the sequence uhu in other


A search in Joe Campbell’s Florentine Codex Vocabulary for the string uhu
only turns up “cuauhuitztli. thorn stick”. Joe has standardized spelling
here, so I suspect that this is an oversight and should be cuauhhuitztli
(/kwawwitstli/). Here uhu is /ww/.


Another search, this time in Marc Eisinger’s Index Lexical du texte Nahuatl
du Codex de Florence (on Sup-Infor), produces a short list:


juhuj, quauhuitztli, quitecozauhuia, tlayiauhujlli, tlatlacuhujtectli,


The j’s, of course, can be written as i’s, being allographs of the same
graph (letter) in the Nahuatl texts of the Florentine Codex.


The first one, iuhui, is interesting, as it appears that the intent was to
write the particle ihui (“thus, like, in this manner”). This would support
the possibility that “xiuhuitzolli” was written to express the word
xihuitzolli, since in one other instance the graphic sequence iuhui seems to
express the phonemic sequence /iwi/, rather than /iwwi/. The word “iuhui”
appears in this phrase: “yn iuhui cencan quitocatiuh” (vol. 1, libro 1,
capítulo 12, f. 21r [vol.], f. 9r [libro]; Dibble & Anderson, book 1, p. 25
[last line]).


On the other hand, in the list from Eisinger, uhu usually appears in words
with the phonemic sequence /ww/, so I can’t rule out xiuhhuitzolli.


Can anyone see a way to break down xiuhhuitzolli into a meaningful compound
noun? I still think I should go with xihuitzolli, but I’m swimming upstream
here, against hallowed tradition, so I’m making a last effort to conform.


- David

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