MOCTEZUMA’S HEADDRESS, REPLICA FAITHFUL TO THE ORIGINAL
Organización Editorial Mexicana
July 13, 2015
[Editor’s note: Too bad that the supposed “Penacho de Motekuhzoma” was never an actual headdress ever worn by anyone, much less by the Tlahtoani himself. In fact, the original was a gift from Motekuhzoma to Cortez; was stolen by pirates; was gifted and re-gifted by European nobility; and finally ending up at the Vienna world museum. Furthermore, the original was so badly deteriorated that a team was assembled to restore it at the turn of the 20th –century. All of the gold had been long since stripped and the few original feathers still left on it (400 plus year later) were virtually un-reparable. That sort of makes the recent Mexican replica “two removed” from the original (a copy of a restoration,) and therefore almost worthless (in the historic sense). People like Xokonoschtletl, who’ve made it their life-long mission to recover it and have it returned to Mexico, have done so for a reproduction of which only the “frame” is original – despite the fact that it was gift! What a tremendous waste of time and effort…]
MEXICO CITY – An extended range can be glimpsed after illuminating the display case. It consists of shimmering green feathers of almost a meter long; the other center in shades of brown, red and blue form a sort of crown decorated with accents of green feathers and small crescents, gold discs and turrets. At first glance, the untrained eye would not know this is replica of the original.
It is a quetzalapanecáyotl reproduction, better known as “Penacho de Moctezuma,” which is housed in the Mexica Hall of the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
This copy complies largely with the formal characteristics of the original in terms of dimensions, colors, materials and combination of format, said Maria Olvido Moreno Guzman, Aesthetic Research Institute, UNAM.
The development of this headdress, the expert noted, was part of the construction of national identity in post-revolutionary period (1929-1938), becoming one of the symbols that form part of the “Mexican imaginary.”
The documentary El Penacho de Moctezuma: Plumaria del México Antiguo, which won the 2015 Ariel Award in the Documentary Short Film category, is based on Moreno Guzman’s research.
Original Vs Replica
For decades it has been said that the original headdress –in the Weltmuseum (World Museum) collection of Vienna in Austria – belonged to tlatoani Moctezuma II (1466-1520). This example of feather art of the sixteenth century was drawn up by its front, four feathered bird species (known by its common name as quetzal, cowboy bird, roseate spoonbills and turquoise charlador) and more than 500 thousand metal flakes, gold originally.
Under the leadership of Aberlado L. Rodriguez (political and Acting President of Mexico from 1932 to 1934) and with the participation of hunters who gathered the necessary feathers, between 1938 and 1939 Francisco Moctezuma, an amanteca (who is dedicated to feather art) of which little is known, worked without having direct access to the original object; it is thought that he worked only with copies of the image.
“Despite being a replica, it has become a unique object, valuable and irreproducible, for they could not build a new one because there are not enough birds to provide feathers,” said Moreno Guzman.
During the Mexico binational research project (National Institute of Anthropology and History) – Austria (2010-2012), which had as its main focus the research and conservation of the sixteenth-century headdress, the university produced a copy of the structure in order to understand its mechanics, that is, how it was used and manipulated.
[This is a Google translation with edits and revisions by Tlakatekatl.]
Source: Réplica del Penacho de Moctezuma, fiel al original