10 interesting facts about the “Penacho de Moctezuma”

Today The Yucatan Times will give you 10 interesting facts that you need to know about the Moctezuma Plume. 

Discover its secrets!

Mérida, Yucatán (May 06, 2021).- There are many stories about the Moctezuma Plume, here we tell you some basic information you have to know about this object that is currently in the Museum of Ethnology in Vienna, Austria, where Mexicans can visit it without paying their entrance to this site.

1.- First of all you should know that this is one of the few pieces of feather art that have been preserved since pre-Hispanic times.

2.- Moctezuma’s plume was not stolen, it was a gift that the tlatoani made to Hernán Cortés upon his arrival in Tenochtitlan, which was given to him along with other treasures with the idea of ​​establishing a friendly relationship with the conqueror and the king of Spain.

3.- Moctezuma’s plume was not a crown, it was actually a quetzalapanecáyotl  or headdress made of quetzal feathers set in gold, a work of the lovercas or Mexican artists specialized in feather art.

4.- Its size is 1.16 m high by 1.75 m in diameter. Because its use was unknown when it was rescued from the Belvedere Palace, when it was restored it was thought to be a cape or a fan, so it was flattened and lost its flexibility.

5.- The plume is made up of feathers from 4 species of birds; in the center, it has blue feathers of the xiuh totol bird, and golden weavings in the shape of half-moons with precious stones. This row is followed by a pink area of ​​tlauquechol feathers and another area of ​​brown cuckoo feathers, from which a row of green quetzal feathers can measure up to 55 centimeters long. To conjugate in total more than 222 pens.

6.- This is not a unique or exclusive piece since it is assumed that Moctezuma had more than one plume (Penacho), according to the historian Carmen Cook de Leonard.

7.- In 2011, there was talk for the last time about the return of Moctezuma’s plume to Mexico, and the loan of this headdress was negotiated with the Vienna Art Museum in exchange for Maximiliano’s carriage. However, the researchers consider that the vibrations caused by transport, truck, plane, etc., would permanently damage the plume due to how fragile it is.

8.- The plume is part of the Vienna Museum of Ethnology (MEV) and no one knows exactly how it arrived in Europe since there is a version that the ship in which hundreds of gifts went to King Carlos I of Spain where it was going Moctezuma’s plume was looted by pirates, so this garment changed ownership on several occasions.

9.- In the documentary La Historia del Penacho de Moctezuma made by UNAM, it is noted that El Penacho de Moctezuma arrived in Austria in 1699 as part of a collection of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tirol and remained for more than 200 years in the palace of Ambras. In 1878 the naturist Ferdinand von Hochstetter discovered that the plume was lying in a display case and he undertook the task of restoring it.

10.- According to historian Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, if we adhere to what is said in articles 27 and 28 of the Federal Law of Monuments and Archaeological Zones, there is no doubt that the Moctezuma plume is Mexico’s national property no matter where it is located. The reason why Austria does not return it to Mexico is, again, because it could suffer damage when being transferred.

Source: México Desconocido



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