Austrian Responds Regarding Returning Moctezuma’s Headdress to Mexico: “Don’t Blame Me”

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The young woman from Austria has a clear opinion regarding the Mexican treasure. One of the most important pre-Hispanic Mexican artifacts located abroad is Moctezuma’s headdress—the gift that the Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan gave to Hernán Cortés before their conflict escalated. Somehow, this historical treasure ended up in Austria and is currently housed in the Weltmuseum in Vienna, the capital of that country.

Mexicans have expressed their desire for significant objects like Moctezuma’s headdress to return to their country. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador even negotiated for its return, albeit unsuccessfully. But what do foreigners think about this?

The TikTok account “Extranjeros x el mundo” recently interviewed a young Austrian woman living in Mexico, and she couldn’t avoid discussing the headdress. When asked about the appropriation of the treasure, she jokingly responded, “Don’t blame me; I had nothing to do with it. Several acquaintances who are history enthusiasts have already told me—I’m not that much into history.”

She also playfully called Mexicans “rascals” for having free access to the museum that houses the emblematic headdress. However, she admitted that it is right for Austria to return the headdress to Mexico: “I feel it should be returned; after all, it’s not ours.”

Moctezuma’s Headdress arrived in Austria during the 16th century, during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Various theories exist about how it was transported, but none have been definitively confirmed. One widely accepted theory suggests that Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador, sent it as a gift to King Charles I of Spain and V of Germany. Later, the piece would have been transferred as part of a collection to the Habsburgs, the Austrian imperial family. Since then, it has remained in Austria.

This significant treasure is considered a symbol of great historical and cultural value, representing the wealth and complexity of the Mexica civilization before the Spanish conquest. Moreover, it is so highly sought after by Mexicans because it embodies the pre-Hispanic identity that still resonates with the majority of the population.

Other pre-Hispanic Mexican treasures located abroad include:

  • Piedra del Sol: Displayed at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico, with replicas in various international institutions.
  • Códice Borgia: Safeguarded in the Vatican Apostolic Library in Vatican City.
  • Códice Florentino: Housed in the Laurentian Library in Florence, Italy.

The Penacho de Moctezuma is a piece of great cultural and historical value. It is currently located in the Weltmuseum in Vienna, Austria. The headdress is primarily made of exotic bird feathers and precious materials. Its main components include:

  • Quetzal Feathers: The central structure of the headdress consists of long green quetzal feathers.
  • Other Bird Feathers: It also includes feathers from birds such as the cotinga, pink spoonbill, and kuka squirrel, contributing colors like blue, yellow, and red.
  • Gold and Gemstones: The base and certain details of the headdress are adorned with gold and precious stones.
  • Maguey Needles: These were used to secure the feathers and other elements to the structure.

Together, these materials create a piece of significant aesthetic and cultural value, reflecting the skill and sophistication of the Aztec artisans.

Source: Infobae