Ichca Huipil

The first piece of armor I would like to discuss is the ubiquitous and variously described brigandine, or cuirasse of the native Mesoamericans. There are two native names for this cotton brigandine, one ichcahuipilli (from apparently Aztec derivation), and the similar ichca huipil (of Mayan derivation, or also xakpota [this nomenclature is from ‘The Annals of the Cakchiquels’, a highland Maya source]). The ichca huipil was not only a jacket or cuirasse sized article, but could also be a full length coat to the ankles, and also a knee length protection, like the medieval gambeson or hauberk. I will use five descriptive sources that have come down to us from European explorers, soldiers, and friars, that describe its design and effectiveness. These sources are from Bernal Diaz (of Cortez’s army), the author known as the Anonymous Conqueror (also of Cortez’s army), friar Diego de Landa (16th century Spanish priest in the Yucatan), Ferdinand Columbus (description of his father Cristopher Columbus’ 4th voyage), and Gonzalo de Alvarado (also soldier in Cortez’s army). Ichca Huipil or ichcahuipilli

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