Matrícula de Tributos


The Matrícula de Tributos (‘Register of Tribute’) consists of 16 sheets (‘folios’) of paper made from the bark of the amate tree. Although some of the early folios are heavily damaged, whole sheets measure 29 × 42 centimeters. These pieces of amatl paper were originally painted on only one side, and probably date to before the conquest of Tenochtitlán. Sometime in the colonial period, however, these separate one-sided sheets were glued together. This created the document which exists today, in which each folio has images on the front and the back.

The Matrícula records the geographical extent of the Aztec tribute empire. The first pages show fortified frontier garrisons. The remaining pages’“the majority of the document’“focus on different tribute provinces. Their images depict the place signs of towns from which the Aztecs demanded tribute, and list the tribute items (feathers, warrior costumes, jaguar skins) that were supposedly sent every 80 days to Tenochtitlán.

In addition to the original pictorial glyphs, the Matrícula is also covered with later alphabetic captions. Some, added in the sixteenth century, are in Nahuatl (N). Others, added in the eighteenth century, are in Spanish (E). The Matrícula de Tributos is currently in the National Library of Anthropology in Mexico City. For more information, see the Introduction to the Matrícula de Tributos Nahua tutorial.

c. 1519


29 cm x 42 cm sheets

  • [12r.1] [The Tribute Province of Coixtlahuaca:] Coixtlahuaca Place of the Plain of Snakes
  • [12r.2] Tejupam On the Blue Color
  • [12r.3] Tamazulapan On the Water of the Frogs
  • [12r.4] Yanhuitlan Place of the New Town
  • [12r.5] Teposcolula Place of Copper Hooks
  • [12r.6] Nochixtlan Place of Cochineal
  • [12r.7] Jaltepec On the Sand Hill
  • [12r.8] [Tamazola] Place of Frogs
  • [12r.9] [Mictlan] Place of the Dead
  • [12r.10] [Coaxomulco] In the Corner of the Coatli Tree
  • [12r.11] Cuicatlan Place of Song
  • [12r.12] 400 bundles of quilted capes, 2 brazas wide
  • [12r.13] 400 bundles of red and white capes
  • [12r.14] 400 bundles of black and white capes, 4 brazas wide
  • [12r.15] 400 bundles of red and white loincloths
  • [12r.16] 400 bundles of huipils
  • [12r.17] 1 Umbilical Cord-style warrior’s costume with Huaxtec Nose Ornament shield
  • [12r.18] 1 Quetzal Feather warrior costume with Huaxtec Nose Ornament shield
  • [12r.19] 20 bowls of gold
  • [12r.20] feathered ornament
  • [12r.21] 20 bags of cochineal
  • [12r.22] 20 bags of cochineal
  • [12r.23] 400 bundles of quetzal feathers
  • [12r.24] 400 bundles of quetzal feathers
  • [12r.25] string of greenstone beads
  • [12r.26] string of greenstone beads
  • [12r.N1] Cohuaxtlauaca
  • [12r.N2] tamaçolapa
  • [12r.N3] tepozcolulan
  • [12r.N4] centzo[n]tli cacamoliuhqui [400 quilted capes]
  • [12r.N5] [centzo[n]tli tlapallocuiltecayo] 400 red capes from Ocuilan
  • [12r.N6] [centzo[n]tli tlipapapatlavac] 400 wide black capes
  • [12r.N7] centzo[n]tli maxtlatl [400 loincloths]
  • [12r.N8] cexiuhtica ytlaviz in q[ui]callaq[ui]aya [They gave their arms annually as tribute]
  • [12r.N9] teocuitlatl coztic centecpanxicalli [20 gourd bowls of gold]
  • [12r.N10] centetl tlalpilloni [one royal ornament]
  • [12r.N11] ontecpanxiquipilli nocheztli [40 bags of cochineal]
  • [12r.N12] ontzontli quetzalli [800 bundles of quetzal feathers]
  • [12r.N13] [chal]chiutl matlactetl omome cexiutl [strings of greenstones annually]
  • [12r.E1] Cohuasthlahuaca y otros Pueblos tributarios [Coixtlahuaca and other tributary towns]
  • [12r.E2] 400 Mantas [400 capes]
  • [12r.E3] 400 Mantas labradas tenidas [400 worked and dyed capes]
  • [12r.E4] 400 negras anchas [400 black wide [capes]]
  • [12r.E5] 400 Mantas para Bragas [400 capes for pants]
  • [12r.E6] Las Armas, o Adornos, q[ue] metian cada año [The weapons, or ornaments, that they gave each year]
  • [12r.E7] Jicaras o Medidas de oro [gourd bowls or measures of gold]
  • [12r.E8] Ceñidores [cords]
  • [12r.E9] Dos Zurrones de Grana [2 bags of cochineal]
  • [12r.E10] 800 Plumas ricas Verdes [800 Rich green feathers]
  • [12r.E11] doze sartas de Piedras mui preciosas Verdes [12 strings of very precious green stones]