The tōnalpōhualli (Nahuatl pronunciation: [toːnaɬpoːˈwalːi]), meaning "count of days" in Nahuatl, is a Mexica version of the 260-day calendar in use in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. This calendar is solar and consists of 20 13-day (trecena) periods. Each trecena is ruled by a different deity. Graphic representations for the twenty day names have existed among certain ethnic, linguistic, or archaeologically identified peoples.
The basis of the tōnalpōhualli is unknown. Several theories have been advanced for this calendrical period: that it represents a Venusian cycle, that it represents the human gestation period, or that it represents the number of days between the zenithal passage of the sun in the tropical lowlands. On the other hand, some scholars including J. E. S. Thompson suggest that the tōnalpōhualli was not based on natural phenomena at all, but rather on the integers 13 and 20, both considered important numbers in Mesoamerica.
The other major Mexica calendar, the xiuhpōhualli, is a 365-day year, based on 18 months of 20 days and five nameless days. A xiuhpōhualli was designated by the name of its first tōnalpōhualli day. For example, Hernán Cortés met Moctezuma II on the day 8 Wind in the year 1 Reed (or November 8, 1519 in the Julian calendar).
The xiuhpōhualli and the tōnalpōhualli would coincide approximately every 52 years.
|1||1 Cipactli (Caiman or aquatic monster)||Tōnacātēcuhtli||East|
|2||1 Ehēcatl (Wind)||Quetzalcoatl||North|
|3||1 Calli (House)||Tepēyōllōtl||West|
|4||1 Cuetzpalin (Lizard)||Huēhuecoyōtl||South|
|5||1 Cōātl (Snake)||Chalchiuhtlicue||East|
|6||1 Miquiztli (Death)||Tecuciztecatl||North|
|7||1 Mazātl (Deer)||Tlāloc||West|
|8||1 Tōchtli (Rabbit)||Mayahuel||South|
|9||1 Ātl (Water)||Xiuhtecuhtli||East|
|10||1 Itzcuintli (Dog)||Mictlāntēcutli||North|
|11||1 Ozomahtli (Monkey)||Xochipilli||West|
|12||1 Malīnalli (Grass)||Patecatl||South|
|13||1 Ācatl (Reed)||Tezcatlipōca||East|
|14||1 Ocēlōtl (Ocelot or Jaguar)||Tlazōlteōtl||North|
|15||1 Cuāuhtli (Eagle)||Xīpe Totēc||West|
|16||1 Cōzcacuāuhtli (Vulture)||Itzpapalotl||South|
|17||1 Olīn (Movement or Earthquake)||Xolotl||East|
|18||1 Tecpatl (Flint or Knife)||Chalchiuhtotolin||North|
|19||1 Quiyahuitl (Rain)||Tōnatiuh||West|
|20||1 Xōchitl (Flower)||Xōchiquetzal||South|
Gallery of day signs
Note that the symbols are arranged counterclockwise around the calendar stone.
- Macri, Martha J. "Day-Signs." In David Carrasco (ed). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. : Oxford University Press, 2001
- "Codex Florentino (1540–1585) Aztec narration of Moctezuma meeting Cortés upon the Spaniards' entrance into Mexico City (Tenochtitlán) November 8, 1519" (PDF). Santa Fe College. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
- The glyphs shown are taken from the Codex Magliabechiano