Published on March 26, 2013 by Casey
The Aztec and Highland Maya Indians of Mexico were also famous for their feather headdresses, but these headdresses looked very different from the Plains Indian warbonnets. To make their headdresses, the Aztecs and Mayans sewed together a large fan of feathers and then attached it to the back of their head with straps and a headband or metal circlet. Another difference is that parrot, macaw, and quetzal feathers were used instead of eagle feathers. This style of headdress was not only popular in Mexico but also in Central America and in parts of South America as far south as Brazil.
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Both men and women wore headdresses like these. They didn’t have any connection to war, but in the Aztec Empire, the fanciest ones (adorned with gold, jewels, and jade stone) symbolized nobility. Today, feather-fan headdresses are worn as regalia by Nahua, Mayan, and other native dancers in Mexico and Guatemala, and colorful headdresses modelled on traditional Brazilian Indian ones are worn as costumes for Mardi Gras Carnival in Rio de Janeiro every year.