Chalchiuhtlicue, whose name means “She of the Jade Skirt,” is the Aztec goddess of rivers, lakes, seas, springs, and all running water. She is traditionally depicted as an elegant woman in blue-green clothes, with her skirt flowing out to form the river of life—and of death, for Chalchiuhtlicue also presided over the fourth sun of creation, which was destroyed by flood. She wears a quechquemitl (a poncho-like garment with the point in the front) and a magnificent feather crown. Our costume design involves some very easy crafting—a few straight pins and some double-sided tape—but no sewing. You’ll need 3 yards of Aztec pattern ribbon for the feather headdress, the poncho top, and the wrist cuffs.
1. Feather headdress. Attach a length of Aztec pattern ribbon around the gold braid trim; you can use straight pins so as not to mess up the feathers. Finish it off with these turquoise and coral earrings or similar chandelier earrings, which can just hook onto the braid trim on each side of the headdress.
2. Black poncho top. Also available directly from the LotusTraders website here. Any plain black poncho top will do; you’re going to temporarily enhance it with ribbon and fringe in a V-shape, which will help give the effect of a quechquemitl. You’ll need two yards of the Aztec pattern ribbon and two yards of coordinating tassel fringe. Arrange the ribbon and fringe in a deep double-V-shape, with points in the front and the back, and attach with Res-Q tape or even just safety pins. If you get ambitious, you can also trim the edges of the poncho with fringe; you would probably need at least four yards for that. (If you want to try sewing your own quechquemitl, Mexicolore has a good page with instructions.)
3. The all-important jade skirt! LotusTraders has a wonderfully flowing, full-length aqua skirt in one-size-fits-all (up to 2X); they also have a 2X-3X-4X version. An alternate skirt that’s also the right color: dance skirt from ebellyfashion.
4. Chunky shell necklace. This glowing piece matches the skirt and really sets off the outfit.
5. Feather cuffs. You’ll need half a yard of feather trim to do both cuffs (9 inches for each cuff should be more than enough). You can also get the same kind of feathers here; you would probably need one pack for each cuff. Attach the Aztec pattern ribbon to the base of the feather trim with double-sided tape, then wrap the assembled cuff around your wrist. You can safety pin the ends in place.
6. Blue gladiator sandals. Aztec shoes vaguely resembled ankle-high gladiator sandals. If you don’t already have gladiators, these would be perfect.
Hair: If you want to try to do your hair like Chalchiuhtlicue, this sculpture in the British Museum shows you what you need to know. Basically we’re looking at two big fluffy pigtails/ponytails, one on each side of the head:
Costume illustration credits: In the upper right corner of our main illustration is Sandra M. Stanton’s wonderful oil of a resplendent Chalchiuhtlicue in feather headdress. The luminous center painting is by ladycat17 on deviantART. The insets are images of Chalchiuhtlicue from the Aztec codices.