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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Sun 02 May, 2010 10:01 pm    Post subject: 15thc Aztec Knight kit         Reply with quote

Friends,
Below are the helmet, costume, and sword for my Aztec knight kit. I've taken some notes on the subject here:
http://ForensicFashion.com/1487AztecWarrior.html
http://ForensicFashion.com/1487AztecWarriorCostume.html

I plan to try it out at our local Renaissance Faire this coming weekend -- should make for an interesting contrast.

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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Martin Erben




Location: Germany, Düsseldorf
Joined: 10 Jul 2008
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Posts: 66

PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sure it's historically correct and it surely looks great, but I can't fight the thought that some people might confound you with a Power Ranger. Please tell us what the people there say to you.....

Cheers.
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Jim S.




Location: La Antigua Guatemala
Joined: 17 Dec 2007
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Posts: 57

PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 12:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great looking costume Ruel. I´ll bet you are going to turn some heads and be bombarded with questions at the Faire !! All you need to add now is a shield, some sandals of the Aztec style, a nose plug (yacameztli) and ear spools and I´ll bet even Bernal Diaz del Castillo would have some concern as to whether you are for real. A costume replicating one of the Knights of the Military Orders - the Eagle, the Jaguar, or the Arrow - would have been neat too.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey that looks awesome! The colors and design are great. I think the helmet it really well done. How did you go about making it?

No padded armour? From the few spanish accounts I have seen/heard of it seems that is one of the things that comes up quite often because they are so useful. It seems like that was almost one of their trade marks. Are you planning on making one? How about a shield?

That sword does look awesome as a stand alone though! I do not suspect you have tried it out? I can imagine the weight behind razor sharp obsidian would be terrific.

A very under represented group and you have brought out some nice information and recreated some beautiful pieces. Some info in the book you cited might need some updating. London's population around 1325 was likely near three times what it claims. It was not until after the black death that it drops to about 40,000-60,000 (not altogether just death but people fleeing the city as well). You can check out one of M. Postan's medieval population articles for some more solid numbers, though many modern academics see his numbers now as a bit low. Something else to consider is that current thought is that Black Death killed far fewer people than has been estimated in the past (maybe 10-15% according to an article in the Oxford Med. Encyclpd.) further complicating things....


Regardless your kit looks great and thanks for sharing it. Looks like a great deal of time and work went into this and it shows!

RPM
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great looking costume and certainly a very original idea!

I think some feather adornments would be an interesting addition, and it would discourage "power ranger" comments...

It seems the macuahuitl has a metallic pommel? Is this representative of originals?

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wonderful kit! It's so nice seeing something this original. I hope a feather cloak and padded armour is in the future, too.... Wink
Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
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Werner Stiegler





Joined: 27 Feb 2007

Posts: 122

PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Isn't that dye too modern? I don't think they would've had any comparably pure hue of blue besides griding down Lapis. Sad

But then again, you've got to work within moral constraints...nobody's gonna let you slaughter the number of birds required to create one piece of amerindian feather clothing



though they do look stunning.
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Torsten F.H. Wilke




Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
Joined: 01 Jul 2006

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 12:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, you never see that every day.... (blue jaguar knight)
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J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very original - that's a great wake up call for those many of us who are very European-centric in our historical thinking.
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Verry nice!
May I ask what warrior lodge the costume represents. I am familar with the Eagle Knights, Jaguar Knights and the Red Arrows, but not the uniform that you show.

inkothemgard!
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Friends,
Thanks so much for the helpful feedback. Let me try my best to answer your questions and comments.

* COSTUME:
The head represents Tlahuiztli, a Mexican demon figure, though the exact nature of this demon is reported differently among different writers. One Spanish-language source (quoted here) says it's a feminine spirit from the underworld -- possibly like how Roman auxiliary cavalry wore feminine Amazon helmets for the hyppika gymnasia. It goes on to say that one of these was worn by the Aztec commander at the Battle of Otumba.

At any rate, my initial impression was the same as that of many of you --the color scheme is very similar to Nacho Libre's costume! But it is based closely on several examples from the Tribute Roll of the Codex Mendoza, such as this:


I unfortunately can't take any credit for making the costume; I simply got in touch with a source from Mexico that was making them. The same folks also make the padded armor 'ichcahuipilli' and shield to which some of you referred; I'll be adding them later on. And certainly, sandals, feathers and other accessories will be added as soon as I can. One ornament I do have, slightly inauthentic but too stylish to pass up, is this faux coral/turquoise skull necklace:



* SWORD:
I can't take any credit for the sword either; it's something I found on Ebay that's holding me over until I have an accurate, obsidian-bladed one built. It was apparently someone's experimental project, and is a flat slab of steel notched to make the edges look like obsidian inserts. This metal is sandwiched between two thick slabs of wood, and the whole is held together with screws (under the leather wrap). The pommel is of course un-historical, but not overly distracting from afar.

If I were as talented in craftwork as many of you are, I'd replace the wood with thinner slabs and remove the wrap & pommel, which would lighten it considerably. As is, it's a beastly 43in. and 7lbs.


* POPULATION:
Randall, thanks for that information -- I'll track it down and insert the appropriate annotation. Since that quote was from 1981, it's not surprising that new figures for London's population have been revised.

PS:
Werner, that cape appears to be a Hawaiian ahu'ulu, not Native American but no less ecologically destructive:
http://forensicfashion.com/1795HawaiianChiefCape.html

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 04 Dec 2009
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PostPosted: Mon 03 May, 2010 11:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ruel A. Macaraeg wrote:
Friends,
Werner, that cape appears to be a Hawaiian ahu'ulu, not Native American but no less ecologically destructive


What's so destructive about it? The link you posted says that birds were captured, a few feathers plucked and then released again.
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Werner Stiegler





Joined: 27 Feb 2007

Posts: 122

PostPosted: Tue 04 May, 2010 12:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ruel A. Macaraeg wrote:

PS:
Werner, that cape appears to be a Hawaiian ahu'ulu, not Native American but no less ecologically destructive:
http://forensicfashion.com/1795HawaiianChiefCape.html
I'm aware of that, I just don't know if any Aztec feather-studded clothing or capes survived at all. The shield Ahuizotl in Vienna's the only item I'm aware of anyway.
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Bennison N




Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Joined: 06 Feb 2008
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Posts: 416

PostPosted: Tue 04 May, 2010 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome, Ruel... Really cool.
"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

अजयखड्गधारी
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Tue 04 May, 2010 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander,
Ah, you're right -- I do have other sources which contradict that quote (ie., claiming that the birds were killed), but haven't typed them in yet. Incidentally, that's why I try to keep all my notes online: It's just too much for me to remember, or even to manage or access effectively any other way.

Werner,
I'm not aware of any surviving Aztec feather costumes either; none appear in the books I have and I haven't seen any in the museums I've visited in America or Spain. But now your picture has inspired me to make a Hawaiian costume next, especially since I already have the weapons for it...

Bennison,
Thanks. Wink

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Mon 10 May, 2010 8:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Friends,
Here are some photos of my Aztec costume from this past weekend. I must admit, I wasn't entirely happy with it, since some important elements were lacking: the quilted armor underneath, the large backpack with attached standard, feathers on the helmet, proper sandals, and a shield. And I need to re-tailor the collar too, for a better fit. There was some extra room around the torso, probably to accommodate the armor I didn't have; without it I looked almost pudgy which irritated me quite a bit.

I could never have pulled off such an unusual costume without my princess in tow. Though her off-the-shelf "Aztec maiden" outfit was not historically accurate, she wore it well and we made a good impression overall, despite my incomplete parts.

http://forensicfashion.com/1487AztecWarriorCo...0SFRF.html




The helmet seemed to fit her better than me! Reconstructions almost invariably show the full face showing through the mouth-opening, whereas the lower jaw covers my mouth when I wear it.



King Henry approved -- makes sense, since the Aztecs and English were both at odds with the Spanish Empire around that time:


The costume is a work in progress, so hopefully I'll make a better showing of it next time.

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 10 May, 2010 8:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting costume although the use of the words " INCOMPLETE PARTS " in the context of making a good impression and a young lady just screams for a really bad joke I don't have to actually make but just allude to. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud Cool

Oh, size of face opening/size of face as well as the suspension system might explain why it fits her face better than yours. Wink Question

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
Joined: 16 Nov 2005
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Posts: 447

PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 4:00 pm    Post subject: Knight time         Reply with quote

Salut Jean,
twisted minds think alike... I was wondering why Ruel alluded to an Aztec KNIGHT (sic ), but then came the bit about incomplete parts, so I guess ....the Knight time... is the right time...to be... with the one you love...( and so on).

Bon coeur et bon bras
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 4:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Indeed, such jokes were made all throughout the day! Mostly from jealousy, I like to think... Razz

I think calling them "knights" is more helpful than "warriors" because it recognizes that they
(1) appear to have formed a distinct social stratum, and
(2) were more heavily armored than common soldiers, used heraldry, and practiced knightly rituals like single combat with sword & shield.


Here are some additional pictures which show the relative size of the sword -- for reference, I stand just short of 5'6". It's only about 42" long, but because it has distal widening ("proximal taper") it feels much heavier than comparable medieval swords.



http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
Joined: 16 Nov 2005
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Posts: 447

PostPosted: Tue 11 May, 2010 6:09 pm    Post subject: Aztecs         Reply with quote

Do we have any information as to how the Aztecs referred to their own warrior class? Japanese had their Samourai class, so is anything known about how the Aztecs called their own ?
I understand the reference to western civilization's Knights, but the specificity of the cultural norms of each civilisation gets lost when we use one word to replace all others. Japanese knights? not quite....
Anyway, glad that you and your lady had fun at the fair.
Cheers,
JC

Bon coeur et bon bras
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