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You are watching: Ruler’s feather headdress


Ruler’s Feather Headdress

1. Identification:

Ruler’s feather headdress (probably that Motecuhzoma II). Mexica (Aztec). 1428-1520 C.E. Feathers (quetzal and also cotinga) and gold.

2. Description & Formal evaluation of Art:

This headpiece is 46 inch high and 69 inches throughout and has the kind of concentric class of various colored feathers. The is i ordered it in a semicircle to be worn. The the smallest is made from blue feathers with little plates of yellow in the shapes of fifty percent moons, inlaid through stones. Behind this is a great of pink feathers, smaller environment-friendly feathers, and secondary layer that white-tipped reddish brown feathers of the cuckoo. Leather straps attach the crown to the head the the wearer.

3. Arts Making procedure (materials and also technique):

The smallest feathers space from the Lady Cotinga blue bird. The pink feathers checked out behind those space from the pink flamingo. Next, the bright environment-friendly feathers room from the Quetzal bird, i beg your pardon is aboriginal to the area. The remaining feathers are brown, red, and white, which deserve to be discovered on the Squirrel Cuckoo bird. No one of this birds today are at this time extinct or even endangered. Feathered headdresses prefer this one was constructed with a woven netting to bring all of the feathers together. It is additionally lined with valuable stones and also gems, making the headdress worth end 50 million dollars because of the product objects in ~ it and it’s historical significance.

4. Contents (subject/iconography):

To the Aztec people, feathers to be a sign of wealth and also power. The only ones come wear feathered headdresses like this one would certainly be the the upper class, the ruling class, and also the miscellaneous gods and goddesses. Feathers had a significant religious connotation to them because feathers came from birds, and also only birds had actually something in typical with the god that humans lacked. Birds might fly, and so might the “Feathered Serpent”, which was the Aztec god of all creation. Wearing a feathered headdress was thought to lug those wearing the closer come the gods.

5. Initial Context/Audience:

This was made to showcase the power to the Aztec civilians the the gods and also kings held, in addition to the greatness that have the right to be developed by the Aztec world to the Spanish settlers.

6. Intended Function/Purpose:

Some thought that this headdress was offered by Motecuhzoma as he made his method into the civilian components of his city-state to show the godly power he held. That is an ext widely believed that this headdress was a gift native Motecuhzoma come Spanish conquer Hernan Cortes, who later on would cause the downfall the the Aztec empire. With the headdress right now residing in Austria with chroniclers unsure as to how it got there, most figure that after ~ Cortes obtained the headdress as a gift, he sent out it come Europe come Spanish King Charles I, later making its method to one Austrian noble.

7. Thematic or Cross-cultural connections:

Featherwork was additionally prevalent in Hawaiian culture. Hawaiian feather cloaks known as ‘Ahu ‘ula were worn by guys in the greatest Hawaiian society class. Feathered headdresses worn by the Aztecs were constructed likewise to the featherwork cloaks worn by Hawaiians, yet with really different colored feathers from birds that are indigenous to the area.

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Featherwork in both cultures were worn to display high rank and also power.