List of Themes

Aging (People & Things)


Agriculture & Gardens

anything relating to cultivation of plants

Anatomy or Appearance

body parts of all kinds, and other things relating to appearance

Animals & Insects

includes a wide range of living creatures

Architecture & Construction

a range of features and types of buildings and structures

Art & Crafts

fine arts and practical arts, a wide range (but see also jewelry & adornment, ceramics, etc.)


alcoholic and otherwise

Cardinal Directions & Cosmos

north, south, east, west, up, down, center; ways of seeing the universe

Celestial Phenomena

comets, eclipses, stars, etc.

Ceramics & Pottery

often relates to cooking, eating; but can include sculpture, etc.

Childhood & Adolescence

relating to youth, children, and babies

Chocolate & Cacao

relates to foods, beverages; also, trade and "money" (in kind)

Cleanliness, Orderliness

bathing, washing, sweeping, putting things in order


not just color names, but things of certain colors

Corn / Maize

an especially culturally significant food and religious offering

Crime & Punishment

transgressions & consequences of a wide range (not just illegal, per se)


as always, check attestations, not just simple translations of headwords

Dreams & Visions

defined broadly; check attestations for relevance

Economics & Commerce

markets, shops, buying, selling, products, occupations, values


formal and informal, teaching and learning


happy, sad, angry, anxious, etc. (see also Personality & Behavior, and see Humor)

Family & Kinship

many kinds of relationships, plus ancestry


special attention to a prominent element in art

Fire, Tobacco, & Incense

practical and ritual uses; smoke is significant here, too


special attention to a prominent feature in the culture

Food or Cooking

indigenous & imported foods; includes language about eating


indigenous & imported; includes neologisms and loanwords

Gifts & Offerings

forthcoming -- meanwhile see Sacrificial Offerings

Health & Medicine

ailments and remedies of a wide range


teasing, joking, laughter, riddles, etc.

Imperialism (Indigenous)

empires and empire-building, including merchants, tributes, wars of conquest, etc.

Imperialism (Spanish)

individuals, places, titles, concepts

Jewelry or Adornment

includes a wide range of regalia, headdresses, fans, etc. (see also Anatomy or Appearance)

Labor Issues

relating to work, working conditions (see also Tributes & Service; Occupations)

Land Tenure

individual & group ownership of land; boundaries, etc.

Landscape Features

evidence of environmental awareness; can relate to place names, rituals


special attention to a particular item in arts and crafts

Legal Matters & Documents

see also Writing & Literacy

Marine / Maritime

fresh and saltwater vessels, fish & shellfish, bodies of water, etc.


specific & general, weight & size, indigenous & imported

Metals or Mining

metals theme includes items made of metals; imported & indigenous

Metaphors, Proverbs, Riddles

includes elder speech (huehuetlatolli); see also Humor


usage of coin & goods in kind; payments, loans, etc.

Music, Song, Dance

song encompasses poetry, too

Nahuales, Sorcery, Divining

augury, spell casting, shape-shifting, see also Religion (Indigenous) and see Dreams

Names (personal)

indigenous & Spanish, given names & surnames

Names (places)

intersects with Landscape Features

Numbers or Math

ways of counting, quantifying


see also Labor Issues


relating to writing, painting, and ritual uses