How to Make Traditional Aztec Dance Costumes

Written by julia salgado
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Culture and ceremony played an enormous part in establishing the doctrine and philosophy of the Aztec empire. The cyclical calendars ensured that the people always knew when a religious festival was imminent, and ceremonial clothing and jewellery were very much a part these celebrations and rituals.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • White undershirt
  • White shorts
  • White sheet
  • Brooch
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint brush
  • Large feathers
  • Sun visor
  • Hot-glue gun
  • 20 wooden bead bracelets

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Put on the white shorts and undershirt.

  2. 2

    Take hold of the sheet about seven inches in from one of the corners. Hold the sheet up so your hand is level with your shoulder. Let the sheet fall across your chest and tuck it under your other arm.

  3. 3

    Wrap the sheet around your back and then again around your chest. Pull the sheet tight and wrap it around your back again. From the back, lift the end of the sheet up and over the shoulder of the arm holding the sheet. Pull tight again and use the brooch to pin the two corners together.

  4. 4

    Decorate the sheet with Aztec symbols, if desired. Working with an assistant, paint serpents, ocelots, vultures and monkeys, drawn in profile, onto the exposed areas of the sheet, using fabric paint and a brush.

  5. 5

    Glue the quills of the feathers onto the underside of the sun-visor. Arrange the feathers like the sun's rays, so that they stick up above the edge of the visor. The feathers represent the Aztec god Quetzlcoatl -- the feathered serpent -- and are to be worn on the head.

  6. 6

    Place five of the wooden-bead bracelets around each wrist and ankle. These represent the ceremonial beads worn by Aztec dancers. Ensure the sheet is tight and will not come loose accidentally. Put on the head dress with the feathers with the top of the sun visor facing forward.

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