Aztec society (a Pre-Columbian society) was a highly stratified and complex society that grew among the Aztecs of central Mexico centuries before Mexico became Spanish colony- before the Spanish conquest. It was created on the cultural basis of the greater area of Mesoamerica. Talk of politics, the society was located in Altepetl (the dependent city-state) comprised of smaller divisions called Capulli – which often comprised of one or more kinship groups. On social matters, the society depended on definite division between the free commoners and the nobles that were divided into hierarchies of accountabilities, social status, and power. However, this paper argues out how the role of women in was important in the Aztec society.
For one, women were accountable for the domestic issues. Among women’s domestic responsibility were clothing and providing food to their families. Facts have it women in the Aztec society spent time changing dried maize into nutritious foods. They often mixed water with maize kernels and mineral lime, which was later boiled and left to cool overnight. This made the maize soft or softer, loosening the hulls from the Kernels making the diet more nutritious by releasing vitamin B12 in the maize and enriching calcium to the food. The treated maize would be grounded to fine dough, influencing the maize’s digestibility and thus the food energy the maize gave the body. The dough was employed in making tortillas- thin cakes often cook on a ceramic griddle. This dish was flavored with various employing mixtures of tomatoes, beans, avocados and amongst others. With cooking aspect of women taken in account, conclusion can be made that Aztec society was a one healthy society.
The women also responsible for the clothing: they wove clothes with various fibers. One of the fibers was the ichtli drawn from Maguey plant leaves. The plant was a local plant well suited to seasonal drought, the thin soils, and regular frost in the Basin of Mexico. The leaves were cut, scraped, and soaked to separate the fiber from the leaf’s flesh. The fiber was later cleaned and spun into thread employing a spindle. The second fiber used was cotton. It could not be grown in the Basin of Mexico: it was rather brought to Aztec by trade or gift from nearby communities who resided in lowlands or temperate regions. The fibers were woven into clothes by employing the back strap loom. Employing these looms, the women created textiles with unique brocade and gauze design. Painted designs or embroidered was added after the cloth had been finished. Many designs had profound symbolic meanings that promoted the value of the cloth. The looms created rectangular pieces of cloth that served as loincloth and capes for men and over blouses and skirts for women with a little more tailoring. This helped in promoting the culture of Aztec and giving them an identity in as far as dressing is concerned.
16th century written sources show that Aztec women were merchants and vendors in both regional and local markets where they traded various goods: wild herbs, farm produce, salt, and textiles. Both women and men served as administrators in the marketplace. They were accountable for seeing to it that goods were traded out in fair prices and assigning evaluation of tribute and battle provisions to vendors on the rulers behalf.
War provision comprised of well-grounded toasted maize and pinolli, toasted tortillas, and dried maize dough. When there was, a battle to be fought women cooked these foods to sustain the army. From these facts, conclusions can be drawn that women were instrumental in promoting the Aztec economy.
Moreover, women were midwives and healers. They used herbal medicines, sweat bath treatments, and massage therapy in promoting childbirth and treating diseases. Women alongside men visited the sweat baths that were mostly associated with women. Women received frequent sweat baths after and before giving birth to ensure a triumphant reproduction. Women, who were healers, evaluated the prognosis and the causes of illness through different kinds of divination. Currently in Mesoamerica, the ideal interpretation of divination needs dialogue between the diviner and the client. The client gives information on his or her subjective affairs and the diviner employs the knowledge interprets the divination into wise responses and helpful advice. Therefore, divination may have given the client pieces of advice on inter-household relationships and family affairs and improved the client’s ability to handle these affairs productively. This signifies how women promoted healthcare to society.
In conclusion, the healthcare, food, and clothing provided by the women were very important to day today operation of the Aztec society. Food curing and clothing promoted human survival and made it feasible for population growth. The population of the Valley of Mexico snowballed in the years resulting to the Aztec empire. This large population made it feasible to assemble a colossal labor force to build raised chinampa on the land in the lower Basin of Mexico, which provided food to urban people of Tenochtitlan.
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