General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 Nov 2017/5 Eagle
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What did royal women wear?

ORIGINAL QUESTION received from - and thanks to - Nancy McKibbin: Could you please tell us what royal women wore as to clothing and jewelry during the time of Moctezuma II? Many thanks (Answered by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Aztec noblewoman’s attire. Codex Primeros Memoriales, fol. 56r
Aztec noblewoman’s attire. Codex Primeros Memoriales, fol. 56r (Click on image to enlarge)

Whereas every Aztec woman wore a cueitl or skirt, rank was sharply marked out by materials and trim: commoners wore a skirt made of rough maguey (cactus) fibre with precious little by way of woven design on it, whilst wealthy Mexica women wore cotton skirts richly embroidered with pattern designs and decorated with feathers; these were often passed down from one generation to the next.
Whilst commoner Aztec women usually wore nothing above the waist, noble and royal women would wear an elaborately embroidered huipiili or closed tunic, identified by the rectangular patch, often beautifully designed, on back and front of the huipil below the V-shaped neck opening (learn more about this and see a beautiful example by following the fourth link below). Royal women would undoubtedly have had rabbit fur trim, often used to create gorgeous motifs of feathers and flower designs (see a rare surviving example in the second link below).

They would also certainly have worn beautiful and intricate earplugs, perhaps made of the finest jade - learn more from the link below - and possibly a necklace of tinkling jade and silver bells (see picture, left), but remember that Aztec men generally wore far more jewellery than women.

Image scanned from our own copy of Primeros Memoriales by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún, facsimile edition, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1993.

‘What was the Aztecs’ most prized possession?’ (2)

‘Did the Aztecs wear winter clothes?’

‘What did the Aztecs wear?’

‘Mysterious rectangular motif’

Basic Aztec facts: AZTEC JEWELLERY

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