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Huipil of Malinche

Huipil of Malinche

Great care was taken to preserve the Huipil for viewing in the museum.
Because Malinche was considered a traitor, art sometimes depicted her with two faces.
The Huipil underwent a special process to uncover the date of the dress.
A closer look using special equipment helped uncover the details in the design of the dress.
It took a large and dedicated team of specialists to prepare the Huipil for public viewing at the museum.
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Who is the most notorious woman in Mexican history?

And how did her dress change history?

In history books and Hollywood movies, Cortes and his small army get the credit and the blame for the Spanish conquest that swept away the Aztecs and brought a new boss, a new god and a European strain of smallpox that killed one out of every two Mexicans.

But in the museum’s library, ancient drawings reveal that Cortes did not act alone. There is a native woman at his side.

She is the most notorious woman in Mexican history – reviled for collaborating with the conquistadors and branded as a traitor to her people.

Her name is Malinche.

And her defining moment of perfidy is linked to the simple dress she wore on October 18th, 1519.

If she had worn a different dress that day…the history of the Americas might have been completely different.

Why was her dress so important?  And was Malinche really a traitor?


All is revealed in Museum Secrets: Inside Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology.

Further Questions

History is usually written by the victors.  But in the case of the Spanish Conquest, the losing side wrote their version of history too.  You can find it in a book called The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico.  It’s available from many sources, including Google Books.


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