FIGURE 5. 400 bundles of huipils on folio 3r of the Matrícula de Tributos.
FIGURE 6. Malinche wears an orange huipil over a pale pink skirt and red European shoes.
FIGURE 7. 400 bundles of loincloths on folio 3r of the Matrícula de Tributos.
FIGURE 8. Styles of loincloths in the Lienzo de Tlaxcala, from Cell 21 (left), Cell 18 (center) and Cell 21 (right).
FIGURE 9. Titian’s portrait of Charles V and his dog, 1533. Museo del Prado, Madrid.
FIGURE 10. Commoner man wearing a loincloth and bearing a European on his back, from Cell 30 of the Lienzo de Tlaxcala.
FIGURE 11. Men wearing hipcloths and bearing weapons on their backs, from Cell 30 of the Lienzo de Tlaxcala.
FIGURE 12. Tlaxcalan noble wearing an elaborate cape, loincloth, and sandals, from Cell 4 of the Lienzo de Tlaxcala.
FIGURE 13. Capes from the tribute province of Ocuilan, on folio 7v of the Matrícula de Tributos. Alphabetic glosses in Nahuatl describe these as “Huitzizilla-style” (left), “with notable drawings” (center), and “Ocuilan-style” (right).
The basic elements of men’s and women’s clothing were simple.13 Women dressed in long skirts (cueitl) that consisted of a rectangle of cloth wrapped around the waist. Over this, they wore a rectangular blouse called a huipil. Huipils are one of the common tribute items depicted in the Matrícula de Tributos (Figure 5), and women in the Lienzo de Tlaxcala are usually shown wearing a skirt and a huipil (Figure 6). Women in Central Mexican art are often shown barefoot, which was also common in other areas of fifteenth and sixteenth-century Mesoamerica (such as Oaxaca). One important exception to this appears throughout the Lienzo. Malinche always wears closed European shoes (Figure 6).
The basic item of men’s clothing was the loincloth (maxtlatl). This was a long strip of cloth tied between the legs and around the waist. Like huipils, loincloths also appear as tribute items in the Matrícula (Figure 7). The images in the Lienzo suggest that there existed a number of different ways to tie a loincloth (in much the same way that there are several ways to knot a tie: the Windsor knot, etcetera). Many of the resulting knots appeared phallic (Figure 8). This may have been intentional. Phallic loincloths also appear in prehispanic art, where they had important symbolic meanings.14 An elaborately knotted loincloth, in other words, both covered and accented a man’s genitalia at the same time. A similar item of dress was worn by sixteenth- century Europeans: the bulging codpiece (Figure 9).15
Commoner men might wear only a loincloth when working, and nothing more—not even sandals. This is how porters are shown in Cell 30 of the Lienzo (Figure 10). Both commoner and noble men are also shown wearing hipcloths—short skirts of cloth wrapped around the waist (Figure 11). Noble men also wore sandals and elaborately decorated capes (tilmatl)(Figure 12). Capes are one of the most common types of tribute item demanded in the Matrícula , and a number of elaborate examples are connected to different regions. On folio 7v, for example, the tribute province of Ocuilan is shown delivering elaborately worked capes that are alphabetically labeled as “Ocuilan-style” and “Huitzizilla-style” (Figure 13).
13 For an overview of Central Mexican dress, see Anawalt 1992 and Anawalt 1981: 15-82.
14 Taube 1996, 50-54.
15 Persels 2007.