About the work

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Mesoamerican civilizations crafted many of their headdresses and headbands from a bark paper known as "amatl" or "amate." Mayans used this sturdy paper in their system of recordkeeping. It also provided a medium with which to illustrate the relationship between rulers and gods. The material, like jade, was sacred and considered to be a living being.

Crafted into headbands, or "sakhuuns," the constructions could support the weight of stone pendants. The pendants, or "hu’unals," were hung and attached to them. Ux Yop Hu’n, or "Three Leaves Paper," personifies paper and his image was often worn on the sakhuuns of rulers.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Object Description


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