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

  • [2v.1] [The Tribute Province of Petlacalco:] Petlacalco On the Woven Palm-fiber Box
  • [2v.2] Xaxalpan On a Great Deal of Sand
  • [2v.3] Yopico In the Place of the Yopes [type of headdress]
  • [2v.4] Tepetlacalco On the Sepulcher
  • [2v.5] Tecoloapan On the Water of the Owl
  • [2v.6] Tepechpan On the Large Rock
  • [2v.7] Tequemecan Place of the Sacred Stone
  • [2v.8] Huitzilopuchco In the Place of the Hummingbird
  • [2v.9] Colhuaçinco On the Little Place of the Colhua
  • [2v.10] Cotzotlan Place of Turtledoves
  • [2v.11] Tepepulan Place of Large Hills
  • [2v.12] Olac On the Spring
  • [2v.13] 400 bundles of red, bordered capes
  • [2v.14] 400 bundles of diagonally divided capes
  • [2v.15] 400 bundles of white capes
  • [2v.16] 400 bundles of white capes
  • [2v.17] 400 bundles of white capes
  • [2v.18] 400 bundles of white capes
  • [2v.19] 400 bundles of white capes
  • [2v.20] 400 bundles of white capes
  • [2v.21] 400 bundles of huipils
  • [2v.22] 400 bundles of loincloths
  • [2v.N1] ynin mochi ytequiuh catca yn peltacalcatl nappohualilhuitl yn quicalaquia yn tilmatli yn maxtlatl yn huipilli yn quachtli [All of this was the tribute from Petlacalco; every 80 days they provided capes, loincloths, huipils, and large capes]
  • [2v.N2] tepe----tlacalco
  • [2v.N3] huitzilopochco
  • [2v.E1] Bragas [Loincloths]
  • [2v.E2] Petacas de Mantas y huipiles que pagaban cada [ochenta días] los de Tepetlacalco [Bundles of capes and huipils that the people of Petlacalco paid every 80 days]