Saturday, October 30, 2010

Conquistador Clothing

As sometimes happens, a recent query leads to a serendipitous finding. In dispelling the ubiquitous image of the conquistador as arrayed in a combed morion helmet, peascod breastplate, a ruff , pumpkin pants and thigh-high boots there is a distinct lack of contemporary images to prove the point. Even most of the Aztec and Mayan codices about the conquest date from the second half of the sixteenth century.

David Rickman directed me to this page:

Of fragments of the Lienzo de Tlaxcala at the university of Texas, Austin. I'd seen this image before, though only in black and white, its used in the endpapers of Hammond Innes' The Conquistadors. Interestingly enough the Cortés figure in the codex is dressed very similar to that of Cortés in the Christoph Weidtiz image of him in the Trachetenbuch c.1529

Years ago I can across one of the few European images of conquistadors done in the first half of the 16th C. of the Welser entrada [Long story short: German bankers financed an expedition from Spain to S. America c. 1534], in John Hemming's The Search for El Dorado p.57.

I was looking for a clearer and color version of this image to illustrate my point. No luck finding this one but I did find another that appears to be from the same artist depicting the same event.

Welser entrada mustering at San Lucar de Barrameda, Spain:

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