Image - Cacao Pod Vessel - K6706 © Justin Kerr FAMSI © 2003:
Harriet F. Beaubien

Textile-Clay Laminates:  A special-use material in ancient Mesoamerica
Vea este informe en Español.

Figure 2. Face mask found in Str M7-22, Aguateca [A].

Research Year:  2002
Culture:  Maya
Chronology:  Late Classic
Location:  Petexbatún Region, El Petén, Guatemala
Site:  Aguateca

Table of Contents

Initial Materials Investigations
Research Outline for the Current Study
Results and Discussion
Textile-Clay Laminate Data Set
Laminate Technology
Laminate Products
Data Set Limitations
List of Figures
Sources Cited


Many pictorial features in Maya vase painting and stone carving have been shown by excavated examples to be faithful renderings, including aspects of architecture and furnishings, ritual implements and costume. We can infer that the depictions of elaborate headdresses and back-racks are to some degree realistic, but to date the archaeological evidence of their materials has been scanty. While stone, the material of some excavated mortuary masks, and wood, cited as a mask material in ethnohistoric records [e.g., Tozzer 1941:111], must be considered among the possibilities, these seem impractical choices for the ornate headgear that would have been worn by elites during ritual activities. Recent discovery of mask and headdress components made of a previously unknown textile-clay laminate offers an intriguing alternative as a material for such ceremonial regalia. Further investigation of this material, including a search for additional examples, is the focus of the project funded through a grant received from the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc., (FAMSI).

Click to download the report in PDF format:

Textile-Clay Laminates:  A special-use material in ancient Mesoamerica  (315 KB)

The PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader.
To download the latest version, click the Get Acrobat Reader button below.

Get Acrobat Reader

Submitted 06/01/2003 by:

Return to top of page