The Technology of Aztec Featherworking: Glyphic Clues in the Florentine Codex

Author(s): Frances Berdan

Year: 2015


Featherworking was among the finest of the luxury industries in the Aztec world. The craft employed complicated techniques and some expensive materials, but a relatively straightforward and inexpensive toolkit. Book 9 of the Florentine Codex features a detailed account of this featherworking technology. Forty-one illustrations accompany the Nahuatl textual account, and 27 phonetic glyphs (as single elements or in structured combinations) are embedded in these illustrations. Renewed interpretations of these illustrations and new translations of the phonetic glyphs reveal otherwise undocumented or ambiguous details about the types of feathers, the identity of auxiliary materials, the uses of various tools, and the techniques of featherwork construction. These glyphic translations and interpretations are placed in the context of extant Aztec-period feathered objects.

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Cite this Record

The Technology of Aztec Featherworking: Glyphic Clues in the Florentine Codex. Frances Berdan. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395847)


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Spatial Coverage

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