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Page 11 reverse from Codex Magliabechiano, showing four day-symbols of the tonalpohualli: (Se = one) Flint/Knife [tecpatl], (Ome = two) Rain [quiahuitl], (Yei = three) Flower [xochitl], and (Nahui = four) Caiman/Crocodile (cipactli), with Spanish descriptions. Note how closely the Rain day-symbol resembles Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain and fertility.

The tonalpohualli Nahuatl pronunciation: /toːnaɬpoːˈwalːi/, a Nahuatl word meaning "count of days", is a the Aztec version of the 260-day calendar in use in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. This calendar is neither solar nor lunar, but rather consists of 20 (veintenas), 13-day (trecenas) periods. Each trecena is ruled by a different deity.


The basis of the tonalpohualli, 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 tonalpohualli was not based on natural phenomenon at all, but rather on the integers 13 and 20, both considered important numbers in Mesoamerica.

The other major Aztec calendar, the xiuhpohualli, is a 365 day year, based on 18 months of 20 days and five nameless days. A xiuhpohualli was designated by the name of its first tonalpohualli day. For example, Hernán Cortés met Moctezuma II on the day 8 Wind in the year 1 Reed[citation needed] (or November 9, 1519 in the Julian calendar[citation needed]).

The xiuhpohualli and the tonalpohualli would coincide approximately every 52 years.

Day signs[edit]

citation needed

n.º Trecena Aztec deities associated Cardinal point
1 1 Cipactli (Caiman or aquatic monster) Tonacatecuhtli East
2 1 Ehecatl (Wind) Quetzalcoatl North
3 1 Calli (House) Tepeyollotl, Quetzalcoatl West
4 1 Cuetzpallin (Lizard) Huehuecoyotl or Macuilxochitl South
5 1 Coatl (Snake) Chalchiuhtlicue and Tlazolteotl East
6 1 Miquiztli (Death) Tonatiuh and Tecuciztecatl North
7 1 Mazatl (Deer) Tlaloc and Chicomecoatl o 4 Ehécatl West
8 1 Tochtli (Rabbit) Mayahuel and Xochipilli or Cinteotl South
9 1 Atl (Water) Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli or Xiuhtecuhtli East
10 1 Itzcuintli (Dog) Mictlantecuhtli North
11 1 Ozomatli (Monkey) Patecatl and Cuauhtliocelotl West
12 1 Malinalli (Grass) Itztlacoliuhqui South
13 1 Acatl (Reed) Tezcatlipoca or Uactli and Ixcuina or Tlazolteotl East
14 1 Ocelotl (Ocelot or Jaguar) Tlazolteotl North
15 1 Cuauhtlil (Eagle) Xipe Totec and Quetzalcoatl West
16 1 Cozcacuauhtli (Vulture) Itzpapalotl South
17 1 Ollin (Movement or Earthquake) Xolotl and Tlalchitonatiuh or 4 Ollin East
18 1 Tecpatl (Flint or Knife) Chalchiuhtototl North
19 1 Quiahuit (Rain) Tonatiuh West
20 1 Xochitl (Flower) Xochiquetzal and Tezcatlipoca South

Gallery of Day Signs[edit]

Note that the symbols are arranged counterclockwise around the calendar stone.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonalpohualli — Please support Wikipedia.
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33 news items


Sat, 18 Apr 2015 08:04:28 -0700

Los diseños de alpaca fueron mostrados en la pasarela bajo los nombres de Tonalpohualli, Templo del Jaguar y el Nahual. La línea para mujeres muestra sacos de solapa smoking, pantalones acampanados y de columna, vestidos entallados y de noche ...

The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times
Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:53:05 -0700

The calendar consisted of a 365-day calendar cycle called xiuhpohualli (year count) and a 260-day ritual cycle called tonalpohualli (day count). These two cycles together formed a 52-year calendar round. The xiuhpohualli is considered to be the ...
Fox 2 KFXV
Wed, 12 Feb 2014 21:15:00 -0800

“The 'tonalpohualli' is a very precise mathematic system written in a book called 'tonalamatl'. It gives us some fundamental bases that tell us which is the energy of each day. Energy that is manifested in each person. Everyone has a specific character ...
BBC News
Tue, 22 Jan 2013 04:14:09 -0800

A week made up of seven days is part of our modern global culture, but its origins date back to ancient civilisation. The Greeks gave us democracy, the Romans bridges and roads but it is probably from the ancient Babylonians that we get the seven-day week.
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:18:19 -0700

El calendario tenía un ciclo de 365 días, al cual se le llamaba xiuhpohualli (anual), y un ciclo ritual de 260 días llamado tonalpohualli (diario). Estos dos ciclos juntos formaban una rueda calendárica de 52 años. Al xiuhpohualli se lo consideraba ...
Wed, 16 Sep 2009 09:26:45 -0700

Time for the Aztecs was full of energy and motion, the harbinger of change, and always charged with a potent sense of miraculous happening. There were two aspects of Aztec time-counting, each with different functions. The first was the curious ...
Le Monde
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 06:04:51 -0700

Une représentation du temps. Les Aztèques employaient simultanément deux calendriers : l'un de 260 jours, l'autre de 365. Le premier d'entre eux, appelé Tonalpohualli ou « compte des jours », avait une fonction divinatoire. Chacune de ses 20 « semaines ...


Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:18:45 -0700

La siguiente corona la forman los pictogramas de los veinte días bautizados del calendario sagrado azteca, Tonalpohualli en sentido antihorario. Estos veinte días se iban combinando con trece números hasta que se formaba un año sagrado de doscientos ...

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