List of Themes

Aging (People, Things)

elders, ancestors, antique, birth and birth order, etc.

Agriculture, Gardens, Stockraising

anything relating to cultivation of plants, also animal husbandry

Alcohol, Hallucinogens

alcoholic beverages, mushrooms, etc., see also Dreams and VIsions


bodies and body parts of all kinds, human & animal; and how we use those parts; see also appearance and jewelry

Animals, Bugs, Insects, Reptiles, Fish, etc.

includes a wide range of living creatures


human appearance; see also anatomy; see also jewelry/adornment

Architecture, Construction, Buildings

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.)

Behavior, Personality

this category might also capture mental health issues


all kinds, but see also Alcohol and Hallucinogens

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.

Children, Childhood, Adolescence

relating to youth, children, and babies

Chocolate, Cocoa, Cacao

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

Cleanliness, Orderliness

bathing, washing, sweeping, putting things in order; can include concern with dirtiness


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


formal and informal, teaching and learning


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

Family, Kinship, Descent

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, Eating, Cooking

indigenous & imported foods; language about eating and preparing food; also hunger

Friendship, Affection

See also Emotions; see also Family

Furniture, Household Goods

indigenous & imported; includes neologisms and loanwords

Health, Sickness, Wellness, 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, Adornment, Accouterments

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

Labor, Work, Labor Concerns

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, Lacustrine

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

Markets, Commerce, Economy

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

Measurements, Quantities

specific & general, weight & size, indigenous & imported

Metals, Mining

metals theme includes items made of metals; imported & indigenous

Metaphors, Proverbs, Riddles

includes elder speech (huehuetlatolli); see also Humor

Money, Coins, Wealth

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

Music, Song, Dance

song encompasses poetry, too