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Tenochtitlan Fashion by Kamazotz Tenochtitlan Fashion by Kamazotz
*WARNING* These outfits are not accurate depcitions of Mesoamerican fashion.

For real illustrations of Mesoamerican fashion check out these instead. I have been updating them since 2012 and as of now it is an ongoing series:

Chichimecs:
Maya Lowlands:

I've been designing the fashion for my story lately. With a female base i drew, i started working on the styles of the Mexica(Aztec) capital of Tenochtitlan (Modern day Mexico City). These are only the female outfits and I have yet to do the other regions of the world my graphic novel covers...And my story covers a lot of places! I also have to do the outfits of Mexica/Aztec royalty.

if you have any questions on the outfits feel free to ask.
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:iconschnarre:
schnarre Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2015
...A very fine reference work! An instant fav! :)
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:iconartangel-demon:
artangel-demon Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Student General Artist
Hi! I'm really interested in Aztec/Maya clothing (for accuracy for artistic references) what I'd like to know is, did either the Mayan or Aztec societies have women warriors? I do know Aztecs equated dying in childbirth with dying in battle, and women were allowed to have their own businesses as textile merchants, midwives, the like...but I do want to know if there was a specific clothing they wore if they were warriors.
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
the link in my 3rd reply is http:// moctezuma. awardspace. biz/ Matricula % 20de %20 Tributos.jpg
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
Apart from this what women wore when they fought varied in circimstances. Diego Duran has a few interesting stories and illustrations. For example, in 1428 they fought the Tepanecs. A drawing accompaying the text shows the women dressed in their huipils and skirts but carrying shileds and obsidian-wooden swords (macuahuitl). http ://24.media.tumblr.com/0c522d0ca455475976bbc057edd6b0ea/tumblr_n6khq3cJ0K1t1gi4oo1_1280.jpg When they fought Tlatelolco, they took off their huipiles and threw stuff from their roofs. The bravest ones stripped completely naked and attacked the enemy with milk they squirted from their breasts. http ://24.media.tumblr.com/348e9c30bca4379e2b31c427c4e4bce2/tumblr_n6khpfvqhF1t1gi4oo1_1280.jpg 

-Maya: If you look at the murals of Cacaxtla, Mexico, it clearly depicts a woman ruler leading Eagle Warriors against her enemy, a Lord leading a group of Jaguar Warriors. You can see her here http ://www.kunstkopie.de/kunst/pre_columbian/reproduction_mural_cacaxtla_m_hi.jpg and here farm3.staticflickr.com/2697/58… In Iximche, Guatemala, the Cakchiquel Maya recorded  their history in a textual document called the Annals of the Cakchiquels. In it, women are mentioned to have participated in some battles. Archeological finds in Iximche have found some female bodies in temples where captive warriors were sacrificed. And of course in the Classic period there were several female warlords and rulers like Lady Xoc, Yohl Ik'nal, and Ix Sak K'uk'. It is much more common to find Maya women leading battles than it is to find Nahua women. Another example of a female in battle is http ://lh6.ggpht.com/_WuZRIPMAef0/Rj7FRL2fC0I/AAAAAAAACS8/oCLh3A_mA2c/45moon_goddess.JPG She wears a quechquemitl and skirt, just as in the Cacaxtla murals. These two garments are feminine items of clothing.

any more questions? P:

ps: it didn't let me post links, so just remove the spaces in between the http and : And sorry I had to break this up so much the system thinks its spam ugh...
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
These two costumes are the only ones, without a loincloth. Note, the difference with these costumes (link) and you see the loincloth in between the legs. Loincloths were indicators of gender as they were phallic symbols. They're absence on a warrior is puzzling and in addition, they carry features associated with femininity (the moon shape crescent nose ornament, the cotton and spindle whorls on the helmet etc.). These also happen to be the features of the Goddess Tlazolteotl also associated with sex. The colors for these costumes come in white and yellow. As to what the ahuianime would have looked like, well they wore yellow skin, red lips, and sometimes painted their necks, breasts and other parts of the body. Typically, they also let their hair loose on one side and bound it up in another. Flowers also were arranged on their hair. They also would have worn a skirt and probably a huipil.
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
One theory however, is that they may have worn a helmet and armor like this https ://31.media.tumblr.com/bedfdf63403c853ff6c7de0799618e55/tumblr_n6kf5fK4Xm1t1gi4oo1_500.jpg Found in the Codex Mendoza, it lists with many drawings the different warrior costumes cities had to create for the empire as tribute. 
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:iconartangel-demon:
artangel-demon Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Student General Artist
Another thing (sorry if this seems inappropriate or irrelevant!) how did Aztecs see homosexuality? I know women were given a little more freedom than other cultures at the time, but I do want to know how they viewed it
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Not inappropriate at all. That's a little complex because the only sources we have on their views regarding homosexuality come from Spanish sources via their Aztec informers (who may or may not have been telling them the truth). They definitely not view homosexuality in high regard, in fact it was looked down upon. However, I do not think they were punished for it. And the problem was not so much against homosexuality, instead on excess, and homosexuality in public was viewed as something excessive. In other words, as long as they weren't flaunting it, it was probably ok. Some sources say they were burned, but this may be the Spaniards' influences on the Aztec informers, since many were already evangelicized and during the inquisition homosexuals condemed of sodomy were typically burned. It could be the Aztec informers' way of trying to appeal more to what the Friar who wrote the book wanted to hear. Or it could be that, that really was the punishment, but for people who indulged in this in open public. It's unlikely, but as I mentioned it was still looked down upon and people were usually made fun of.

The reason is, the Nahuas  typically viewed a male who was homosexual as effeminized. An effeminized male was seen as a role reversal of their masculinity and thus something excessive and dangerous because it challenged the order. One has to remember that an effeminized male, especially for the Aztecs who were very militaristic would be seen as one of the worst things. Their society was construed to hold up their empire, as such, they had no room for 'weak' people which is what effemenized males would be viewed as. Of course, in ritual this is very different and social norms were typically broken. Also, the effemenized male, who was viewed as a woman probably, was also probably the one who was penetrated and this person was  looked down upon. As being penetrated was equated to being conquered or challenged. But, like I said in ritual contexts sometimes one was empowered through penetration. It's likely we will never know how they viewed homosexuality, and the answer is likely very complex.
Note: I have not spoken about female homosexuality.

Are you also asking about how women stood in their society?
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
First, thank you! To answer your first question shortly, yes they did have women warriors outside of the pregnant women correlation you mentioned in Nahua societies. However, I should explain this in more detail since its a bit complicated...I'll begin with the Aztec:

-Aztec: Firstly, men made up the bulk of the warriors in their armies. Women, though barely mentioned do appear to have participated indirectly and directly in combat as well. In the armies of the Mexica/Aztec there were groups of women who accompanied the men called ahuianime. They were 'pleasure girls' or prostitutes who came from the House of Courteseans and some from the Temples of Xochiquetzal (a prominent sex goddess). Only a few Spanish sources make mention of them, but they do exist (see Toruemada ) They were described as companions of the warriors, that followed them to the battlefield. Most of them just taunted the enemy by flinging up their skirts and exposing their rears to humiliate and taunt the enemy. The bravest one's however went to fight in battle. As to what they wore, one Spanish source only mentions that the female warriors wore something fitting for them. That is extremely vague.
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:iconartangel-demon:
artangel-demon Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Student General Artist
thank you! This was extremely informative!! :DDD

Another thing...was there a certain meaning to the jade piercings? Like did they show status or were they mostly decoration for nobles and royalty? From what I see in some of the clothing of nobles vs commoners, the more upperclass were able to afford more richly colored/colorful clothing while commoners usually used white or a single-color pattern base. (assuming that dyes were difficult/expenisve to make/buy)

As well, if there was any, is there any meaning at all to tattoos in Aztec/Mayan society? I.e a number of battles, achievements? (I've been told that many earlier cultures did use facial tattoos as a 'resume' of theirs)

Again, thanks SO MUCH for all the links and information!! This is all very helpful and so well-detailed!
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Professional General Artist
Yes there was. Status was shown through clothing, hairstyle, and jewelry. Jade was worn only by nobles and rulers. One single jade bead would be worth more than what a commoner would earn in a year. It was worth more than a slave probably. Lip piercings were typically given to people of high status. For the Aztecs, it symbolized the great word of a ruler, the term for their ruler in actuality is also 'Great Speaker'. Horizontal nose rods were also a symbol of lordship. There was a ceremony for the inauguration of rulers where they were pierced and given a horizontal nose rod by the High priests of a holy city. Much like how kings in Europe were crowned by the Pope. This allowed Mesoamerican rulers to be legitamized. Clothes was varied. Typically, nobles wore clothes of cotton with birghtly colored designs and intricate details. While commoners wore more simple and plain clothes made of maguey. Turqouse capes were in Aztec society reserved for the rulers. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia… Although use of blues in the clothing was not prohibited among other nobles. For the Maya I am not certain.


I am not certain about that. I do know the Aztecs, regarded tattoos as a practice only barbarians (that is foreigners did). For the Maya, it was different. In the Yucatan they typically tattooed their bodies. The Huastecs are the same. The Guatemalan Mayans also covered their bodies with tattooes and they usually used some animal design indicative of their families animal patron. There was great importance in the placement of tattooes however. In the Yucatan, tattooes on the hands signified that the person was very brave. Womens tattooes tended to be more fine, however they avoided tatooing their breasts due to breastfeeding. And only people who had gotten married recieved tattooes. 
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:iconartangel-demon:
artangel-demon Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Student General Artist
Wow...was it just men who were pierced or were high ranking women pierced? I.e lord's wives, queens, princesses, etc. Or were they given a different or no piercings at all?

Ah...what did the placement of the tattoos mean?
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Both men and women pierced. However, in Aztec society I do not believe women typically pierced their lip as the men did. Some did pierce their noses though, a special ornament shaped like a moon crescent or butterfly was used by women but also by male warriors (and perhaps female warriors too). The male warriors who wore them did so as a way to gain powers of the goddesses during battle. It was not unusual for men in battle to dress in feminine attire and features realated to certain goddesses. The supreme General for instance sometimes dressed himself like the Goddess Cihuacoatl and in fact his title was also called Cihuacoatl. Both men and women had ear piercings. I know in Maya cultures some women wore the horizontal nose rod that only lords typically wore. And the Nahuas of Central America, had women wearing them as well.

As I said, the hands signified bravery, and for women any part of the body I assume could be tattooed except for the breasts because it was believed to be bad for when they lactate. Apart from that I do not know of the significance in the tattooes placement.
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:iconartangel-demon:
artangel-demon Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2014  Student General Artist
Ah....that's interesting! 

OK then...that's good to know. THanks for the information! 
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:iconilmexxx:
Ilmexxx Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013
So the slaves were wearing clothes of the same design as commoners but made of maguey instead of cotton and if there was a risk of escape they wore collars with stickes right?

But doesn't this mean that this slave outfit isn't completely authentic unless she is a 'bad' slave wearing the collar with stick 24/7 as a punishment and is thus unable to put on a huipilli shirt. Did such a punishment exist? Anyway, how was this collar locked? Did the Aztecs have some kind of padlocks and if no, how was a slave prevented from taking the collar off? And if the stick was supposed to facilitate an escape, shouln't it be longer and extend beyound the shoulders?

Also, if the ornate clothing was expensive, what did empoverished nobles wear?
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012
Are these accurate depictions of Nahuatl clothing? If so, then thanks for posting! :D
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2012  Professional General Artist
some are, I have to redo this though. This set is mostly for my fictional story. I may do a more accurate one in the future.
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:iconilmexxx:
Ilmexxx Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
Can you say which of these outfits are the accurate ones? And are you going to show more of the Tenochtitlan Aztecs in your historical fashion series?
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Professional General Artist
The slave, commoner at the top right and the two noblewomen are fairly accurate. I started with a few already [link] but yes I have 30-40 outfits planned. It's probably going to be one of my biggest so it'll take a while to complete.
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:iconilmexxx:
Ilmexxx Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013
Thanks for answering, and here are a few more questions:

Were all slaves always forced to go topless with a collar or is this one stripped for sale on a slave market? Was slave clothing regulated by law or did their owners decide what they wear? And what is the purpose and significance of the stick attached to the collar?

The commoner's clothes appear whiter and her skirt longer than the slave's, is it a coincidence or not?

Do the two different noblewomen outfits express anything important? And were commoners forbidden to wear such ornate clothing or was it just too expensive for them?

I'm waiting for the complete chart of outfit!
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:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Professional General Artist
No, not all slaves. Generally, slaves are seen wearing as much clothes as their masters. With the exception of the stick being used to identify between who is who. The stick was used as a way to prevent the slaves from escaping when they were in the crowded markets. Since it could get in the way in a crowd, it'd be harder to maneuver to their freedom. At the market, slaves could sometimes have the opportunity to escape if they managed to slip away without getting caught again. If they were successful, slaves were granted freedom. There were other forms of freedom, but this explains the stick. The stick was also worn as a way to distinguish 'bad' slaves who received multiple misdemeanors for being lazy or troublesome. When slaves were sold at the market, usually they were bathed there and stripped of their clothing. That is why she is topless. However, she would probably be completely naked and cleaned up to look presentable. The person who purchased the slave had to buy their own set of clothes to dress their new slave. Slave clothing was chosen by their master, but under regulation of specific laws. For instance, slaves probably could not wear cotton clothes (But I have to double check this).

The whiter clothes is to show that one is made of (the white clothes) cotton and the other of maguey fiber. But, both cotton and maguey could be dyed with a wide range of colors too. Some sources state that cotton was forbidden to wear among the commoners, but I think this was a recent law. And these laws were sometimes flexible.

Well the noblewoman with the quechquemitl, (the triangular looking top) was actually only worn (based on the evidence that exists) by Goddess impersonators at certain festivals. The colors and patterns likely had specific symbols that could be read by others. But unfortunately, I think these symbols meanings in those times are lost now. But contemporary indigenous clothing does have specific meanings still. It is like a code, and in many ways a way to identify who is who and where they come from. I'd imagine in the case of nobles, their clothing probably said a lot.

Commoners, like I said, were forbidden to wear ornate clothing. But again, these laws were flexible. And likely many could not afford ornate clothing. Some commoners however, were sometimes allowed to wear items which were exclusive to the elite. Usually, distinguished warriors and members of the pochteca (merchants). They were usually given these items as gifts by the Tlatoani himself after they were successful in battle (i.e. captured a warrior in combat) or after a successful voyage (in the case of the pochteca). In a way they were like a middle class. But more appropriately they could be said to be rich commoners. Which gets really blurred if you're trying to distinguish them from the low nobles. Also the late postclassic was a very commercialized time in Mesoamerica. Technically commoners could buy these elaborate items if they could afford it (which is unlikely), but they probably could not wear them, unless they earned it and were given express permission.

And thanks! Though it won't be out for a while, probably not till the end of this year.
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:iconilmexxx:
Ilmexxx Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013
So the slaves were wearing clothes of the same design as commoners but made of maguey instead of cotton and if there was a risk of escape they wore collars with stickes right?But doesn't this mean that this slave outfit isn't completely authentic unless she is a 'bad' slave wearing the collar with stick 24/7 as a punishment and is thus unable to put on a huipilli shirt. Did such a punishment exist? Anyway, how was this collar locked? Did the Aztecs have some kind of padlocks and if no, how was a slave prevented from taking the collar off? And if the stick was supposed to facilitate an escape, shouln't it be longer and extend beyound the shoulders?Also, if the ornate clothing was expensive, what did empoverished nobles wear?
Reply
:iconkamazotz:
Kamazotz Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well I don't know about the same design. But yes, they sometimes wore the sticks, but not all of the slaves appear this way. Usually you can spot the slaves more by what they are doing like carrying loads. Female slaves though were used mostly for weaving and housework. Some were used for sacrifice or ceremonies and others probably also used for sexual pleasure by their owners.

I doubt they wore the stick all the time. It had to be taken off to put on the huipil. And again these outfits here are not completely accurate, including the ones which I singled out as more or less accurate. That's partly why I am redoing them all. Yes, I think it was a punishment, though I can't be certain. I do not know how it was locked. But here is a pic from the florentine codex which shows a family of slaves [link] Here it appears that it wasn't just worn by 'bad' slaves. Unless the whole family was 'bad'. In some instances, the stick around the persons neck is used simply to show those who are slaves and those who were not. Remember that being a slave was more like a punishment for a crime or if you were caught in battle from an enemy city. It wasn't a social class of its own and it appears it was not that prevalent. Even more complicating, is that Aztecs also had serfs which worked the lands of lords for pay. But these were not slaves. And slaves themselves could own land and slaves of their own. And it probably was a bit longer, yes.

I am guessing that they would wear lesser ornate items like obsidian, shell and maybe small feathers from parrots and other birds. They probably would be able to afford imported clothing from the Mixtecs and other places that made fine clothes. But, they probably just had their own clothes woven by their wife or wives if they could afford another. Or supplemented weaving from a slave girl/woman.

Keep in mind, I haven't actually begun my research for Aztec clothing yet. So some of my answers might seem vague because I am making educated guesses based on what I already know.
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:iconamnioticoef:
AmnioticOef Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2012
Alright, I see.
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:iconchiknauimikistli:
ChiknauiMIKISTLI Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2011
tlsojkamati nokni
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