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What was the hairstyle of (seasoned) Aztec warriors?

ORIGINAL QUESTION received from - and thanks to - Kegan Steinke: How did the Aztecs have their hair cut when they captured or killed an enemy? (Answered by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Pic 1 Tequihua warrior hairstyle, Codex Mendoza fol. 62r (detail)
Pic 1 Tequihua warrior hairstyle, Codex Mendoza fol. 62r (detail) (Click on image to enlarge)

We’ve already covered this in part in our feature on ‘Aztec Hairstyles’ - follow link below - but we’re happy here to add some interesting extra details. An experienced and brave (some would say ‘veteran’) Mexica warrior - as opposed to a novice - was called tequihua in Nahuatl, and his iconic hairstyle, shown in several codices, was called temillotl, ‘round column of stone’, commonly known in English as the ‘pillar-of-stone’ hairstyle.
However, it’s not very clear at what stage an Aztec warrior became entitled to sport this hairstyle. In Sahagún’s Florentine Codex Book 8, it states that, on capturing four enemy warriors ‘Moctezuma then let his hair be cut like that of a seasoned warrior’. Yet in the Codex Mendoza warriors are shown with the pillar-of-stone hairstyle even when they’ve only just captured a single enemy warrior (see pic 2). All we can be sure of is that this was definitely a prestigious hairstyle.

Pic 2: Senior warrior (top); a warrior who has captured a single enemy (bottom). Codex Mendoza, fol. 64r (detail)
Pic 2: Senior warrior (top); a warrior who has captured a single enemy (bottom). Codex Mendoza, fol. 64r (detail) (Click on image to enlarge)

Aztec codices always showed captives in a submissive position, kneeling in front of their captors, and being held by a clump of hair at the top of the head. Ironically, the ‘pillar’ of hair would be just the thing to grasp, IF you were lucky enough to capture an experienced Mexica warrior...

Info from The Codex Mendoza, Vol. II by Frances F. Berdan and Patricia Rieff Anawalt, University of California Press, 1992.

Images scanned from our own copy of the James Cooper Clark 1938 facsimile edition of the Codex Mendoza, London.

‘Aztec Hairstyles’

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