General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 24 Sep 2017/13 Flint
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Codex Mendoza: Moctezuma image

A people’s bed

‘However great a lord he might be, no-one had any bed other than this kind’ - Bernal Díaz de Castillo (Historia Verdadera..., Vol. I, p. 335). (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

The ubiquitous [universal] reed mat bed (petate in Mexican Spanish, petlatl in Náhuatl) was standard sleeping equipment for all Aztecs/Mexica, from the humblest slave to the emperor himself. What varied was the number of mats - common people slept on one, Moctezuma slept on a whole pile of them! - and also the coarse or fine quality of weaving.

A colourful and finely woven petate
A colourful and finely woven petate (Click on image to enlarge)

Incidentally, the Aztecs referred to the emperor’s throne as the ‘Eagle and Jaguar Mat’.

As this modern example shows, the art of fine petate making has still not been lost...

Picture sources:-
• Main image: scanned from our copy of the 1938 James Cooper Clark facsimile edition of the Codex Mendoza (original in the Bodleian Library, Oxford)
• Modern petate: photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

emoticon Q. How did the Aztecs go about distributing reed mat beds to the nobility?
A. By counting out loud ‘One petate, two petate, three petate, four...’

Study the... PETATE

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Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: Looks pretty solidly made too!