Vienna is probably the last city where you would expect to find the last surviving crown from Aztec empire. Allegedly this featherwork crown belonged to Moctezuma II, ruler of Tenochtitlan, one of the establishing members of the Triple Alliance (Aztec Empire), who reigned from 1502 to 1520. During his rule indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica encountered Spanish conquistadors for the first time and he will became the first Aztec ruler killed by them.
The crown itself represents masterpiece of the Aztec craft and it is made from feather from three different birds with sewn-on gold detailing.
Because it is the only surviving feather crown from Mesoamerica its value is inestimable. The crown still creates friction between governments of Austria and Mexico. Very often on the streets of Vienna activities protest demanding return of the crown to Mexico. Although Austria acquired it legally from France in 1880, the crown was taken from Mexico as war booty by the Spanish in the 16th century. Nevertheless, scientific research by specialists from both countries Mexico and Austria showed that the feather crown would not survive a transport without damage, which is why a return to Mexico is very unlikely.
Since the beginning of the 19th century the feathered headdress was deposited in the Museum of Ethnology today called Weltmuseum. It is still displayed in the museum and it represents its most famous piece.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.