Ask Mr. Donn
The Maya Empire
Why were feathers important to the Mayas?
There were many beautiful tropical birds in the geographical area in which the Maya lived, deep in the rainforest. The ancient Maya trapped birds for their feathers. They used these colorful feathers to decorate hats, fans, clothing, spears, hair bands, knee bands, collars, necklaces, wristlets, anklets, and other jewelry. Only nobles and royals could use feathers. If a commoner used feathers, they would be killed. The most important bird was the quetzal. (Quetzal tail feathers can be three feet long.) Only royals could use the gorgeous iridescent green tail feathers of the quetzal bird. Feathers displayed social status. Maya Feathers