The Mayan Head Dress

Steven Gerasimoff

The Ancient Mayan head dress was worn as a ceremonial and fashionable garment, as well as an element of a soldier's uniform. They were adorned with bird feathers, ususally those of the Quetzal, sewn together using colored animal hairs or plant fibres. The quetzal is native to Mesoamerica, and is coveted for its colorful and long feathers. The head dresses were meticulously hand sown by craftsmen, and often included other aesthetic elements. Animal heads were once beleived to transmit positive abilities to the wearer, and became common additions to the colored feathers, as did beads, jewlery, and other luxury items.


The head dresses were worn by both men and women of prominence. Only the wealthy and/or powerful were permitted to wear these beautiful accesories. Kings wore them to showcase power, warriors for strength and endurance in battle, and the wealthy for status. 


In modern times, head dresses are still worn as celebratory or ceremonial garments. The feathers are now taken from various sources, and are synthetically colored. This has allowed for more vibrant and surprising designs, in addition to the traditional quetzal appearance. Each head dress is hand sewn, so no two are alike. Although no longer worn for official ceremonies, head dresses are an integral part of Mayan culture that is showcased to tourists.


Contemporary head dresses, although heavily evolved in appearance from the ancient ones, still contain certain elements that can be traced through history. The feather pattern and general shape of the garment has remained constant through time, even though the materials have changed. 


Motifs and symbols also still remain from ancient times. The ancient Maya were fascinated with death and sacrifice, which can be seen in the animal skulls and some patches that are used today. The memory of past tradition is kept alive through this costume. The Mayan head dress serves a cultural vessel that carries the traditions of the ancients in its adornments.


Image Sources:,1312742621,1/stock-photo-tulum-mexico-july-unknown-man-in-mayan-traditional-ornamental-feather-headdress-playing-on-82503907.jpg

Assignment 1 - Inca

Emma Castanos

Scottish Tradition - Highland Dress

Kelsey S
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Highland dress has been traditionally worn by the Scottish for centuries; however, the trend did not originally belong to the Scots. The Scots are historically the Lowlanders of the area and viewed the Highlanders as completely barbaric. As time passed and this rivalry ended, the concept of 'clan tartans' came to be and the Lowlander Scots adopted the Highland dress as their own and now wear it proudly as a sign of their family heritage. This outfit in particular is tradtionally worn by men.

Traditional Highland dress is typically brought out for parade, the Highland Games, dances, festivals, bagpipe playing, and formal events such as weddings.They are also worn by people in the service.

The Kilt: Originating from a long length of tartan cloth which was wrapped around a man's body, belted at the waist and pinned at the shoulder, the kilt has developed into a more complex garment these days. The kilt was chosen because it is warm, it does not restrict movement, and when made out of the traditionally tightly woven wool it is almost completely waterproof. The tartan only ever goes over one should in order to keep a man's sword arm free at all times. Much of a man's stature is derived from his kilt, which is why the kilts are traditionally worn for all formal and cultural occasions. In some cases, the kilt can be replaced with a trew, a modern trouser version of the kilt.

The Sporran: This purse-like accessorie is both fashionable and functional. One of the oldest and untouched pieces of the Highlander dress, the sporran is effectively the pocket of the outfit. The sporran must be worn at the front of the kilt and should hang between two or three inches below the belt of the kilt. Sporrans can be made of leather or fur or a combination of the two. The more ornamental sporrans have metallic features and are typically worn for more formal occasions. 

Ghillies: The leather shoes of Highlander dress are thick-soled, completely tongueless, and high laced over long socks or hose. The shoes were originally made without tongues so that the wearer's feet would dry off quickly if they were to get wet, and the laces were made to tie so far up the leg so that the shoes could not be pulled off if someone were trudging through thick mud. These days, most men where ghillie brogues which look much like dress shoes without the tongue and with extra lacing. Ghillies are more reserved for women's styles and for dancing.

Sgian Dubh: The name of this knife is derived from the Gaelic which means 'black wood', representative of the black bogwood commonly used for the handle of the knife. This single edged knife is traditionally tucked away in the man's stocking. The hilt of the knife remains visible out of the top the of sock, which is why the hilt is very ornate. Traditionally it is a utility knife for the owner, primarily employed for the preparation of fruit, the cutting of materials, or protection from wildlife. Nowadays, this knife is merely ceremonial piece of the Highlander dress and is considered more as a piece of art than as a tool.




Dan Li


Matthew Tancik

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Becky Levine
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Prosthetic Empathy

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In 2050, people perform a ceremony to remember extinct animals in the world. On the ceremony day, people wear a costume to deform the human body and mimic each extinct animal. Lora’s animal is a butterfly….



Stella Kim

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