Ink in Hand (ink_in_hand) wrote in little_details,
Ink in Hand

Aztec hairstyle of noble women

Long time lurker, rare commenter and first time poster here.

Now I understand this comm is geared towards writers and the like; the verbal and written arts. And if I was writing I wouldn't be having problems as I could use the descriptions I've found. But I'm a visual artist, and I'm having problems translating the details I've found into the details I need. So I turn to you and this wonderful comm.

My goal is to draw out a realistic portrayal of the goddess Itzpapalotl in her human(ish) form as she's depicted in her mythology. My problem is that all I've had to go on is a single glyph featuring her in various states of restoration and styles by modern interpreters; and that makes my own interpretation limited.

The question- How exactly, do I depict the way her hair is tied?

I've found rough descriptions that go basically along the lines of "women from the noble classes arranged their hair in plaits and folded the length so that the ends stuck out over the forehead, with the bulk of the hair resting at the nape". My concepts of fashion and hairstyles beyond the occasional 'that looks nice' are practically nil, I've found more or less what I'm looking for but it means nothing to me. How do the tips stand up? Are they tufts like on these girls (which apparently is a somewhat different hairstyle) or knobs like you see here?

I've googled Aztec hairstyles, axtlacuilli, neaxtlaualli hoping to find a photo of someone actually wearing the hairstyle. I've gone through my own books such as The Illustrated History of the Aztec and Maya (which also includes other Mesoamerican peoples), Feathered Serpent: The Rise and Fall of the Aztecs, and several google books where those terms pop up. And I've gone through quite a bit of the Aztec Lifestyle tab on

The tags on this comm that I've searched through are... 'native americans', 'mexico (misc)', mexico: history, 'folklore', and even 'hair growth rate'. (I couldn't find any fashion or straight up hair tags, but that might have been me being blind.)

I might even take this to sadly_mythtaken, but seeing this was a hairstyle that living breathing Mesoamerican women also wore I figured I'd ask here first. Any way you can help me out here would be greatly appreciated.

To give you some idea of my ignorance, at least in terminology, I only just learned that plait is simply another word for braid.
Tags: mexico: history, ~hygiene & grooming, ~native americans

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