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History Meme | [1/8] Objects → Penacho de Moctezuma
Moctezuma’s headdress is a featherwork crown which tradition holds belonged to Moctezuma II, the Aztec emperor at the time of the Spanish Conquest. It is made of quetzal and other feathers mounted in a base of gold studded with precious stones. The feathers of the piece have deteriorated over the centuries. It is 116 cm (46 in) high and 175 cm (69 in) across and has the form of concentric layers of different colored feathers arranged in a semicircle. The smallest is made from blue feathers of the Cotinga amabilis with small plates of gold in the shapes of half moons, inlaid with precious stones. Behind this is a layer of pink flamingo feathers, then small quetzal feathers, then a layer of white-tipped red-brown feathers of the squirrel cuckoo, Piaya cayana, with three bands of small gold plates, and finally two of 400 closely spaced quetzal tail feathers, some 55 cm (22 in) long. The quetzal feathers in the center of the headdress are raised relative to the sides. Leather straps attach the crown to the head of the wearer.