The Chapultepec Castle Chimalli: A Habsburg-repatriated Mexica feline-hide shield


This paper examines a well-known Mexica chimalli (shield), possibly from the sixteenth century, currently found among the holdings of the National Museum of History, Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City. The importance of this study lies in three fundamental aspects: 1) very few Mexica shields have survived; 2) the examples found outside of Mexico have not been fully analyzed; and 3) the chimalli now residing at Chapultepec Castle was originally taken from the Basin of Mexico to Europe during the sixteenth century and subsequently returned to Mexico in the collection of objects brought by the Habsburg emperor Maximilian in 1866 for his new Imperial Museum. Data obtained in our analysis of the shield will be compared with information contained in the historical sources. The various materials utilized in the shield’s design will also be discussed, along with a final section tracing the ways and means, primarily tributary and commercial, by which its constituent raw materials arrived in Tenochtitlan, the Mexica capital.

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Cite this Record

The Chapultepec Castle Chimalli: A Habsburg-repatriated Mexica feline-hide shield. Laura Filloy, María Olvido Moreno Guzmán. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395697)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;