Aztec feathered headdress

Feathered headdress, Aztec, reproduction (National Anthropology Museum, Mexico City). Original: early 16th century, quetzal, cotinga, roseate spoonbill, piaya feathers, wood, fibers, amate paper, cotton, gold, and gilded brass, Aztec, Mexico, (World Museum, Vienna)

This headdress is also called the Penacho of Moctezuma II. Moctezuma II’s headdress was first mentioned in a European inventory in 1596, when it was acquired by Austrian Archduke Ferdinand II von Tyrol. It was listed there as “a Moorish hat.” It was likely an object sent from Mesoamerica to Europe by Hernan Cortes, but it is unknown whether it actually belonged to Moctezuma II himself.

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Cite this page as: Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank and Dr. Beth Harris, "Aztec feathered headdress," in Smarthistory, August 10, 2015, accessed December 15, 2017,