Amantecayotl Glyphs Revisited: Writing and Featherworking in the Florentine Codex

  • Alonso Rodrigo Zamora Corona (Autor/in)
  • Sanja Savkic Sebek (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


This article proposes a reading for all the glyphs infixed in the images which accompany the twenty-first chapter of Book 9 of the Florentine Codex, following the decipherment work initiated by Frances Berdan (2015). These images depict the process of featherworking during the early colonial period, expressing the names of the materials used by the feather artists or amanteca, their properties, as well as the actions involved in the manufacture of their artworks.  The analysis of these glyphs shows that they constitute a sort of technical ‘instruction manual’, and possibly corresponded to one of the ways in which arts and crafts were transmitted among the indigenous people of Mexico during the sixteenth century, an era of strong transculturation. The analysis also reveals how strict phonocentric approaches in grammatology are insufficient to tackle the complexity of Aztec writing and to understand its communicative possibilities. Instead, we propose that, in these pages, images work together with logosyllabic glyphs, codifying ‘embedded texts’, as defined by Janet Berlo (1983), texts which had a degree of independence from those written in Spanish and even alphabetic Nahuatl, and hence can be considered as true pictographies, indigenous texts with the potential to decolonise our idea of writing.


Codex Florentinus, Mexica-Kunst, Federarbeit, Mexica-Schrift, Hieroglyphen, Piktografie