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Aztec Ear Stretching, A Brief History

A Centuries-Old Practice - Aztec Ear Stretching

Ear stretching is a practice that has been around for centuries and has been a part of many cultures. The Aztecs, one of the most prominent civilizations in Mesoamerica, were known for their unique and intricate ear-stretching practices. Aztec ear stretching was not only a way to show off their wealth and status but was also a religious and cultural practice.

The Aztecs believed that by stretching their ears, they were bringing themselves closer to their gods. They believed that the gods were pleased with this practice, and it would help them communicate with the gods more easily. Aztec priests and nobility were known to have their ears stretched to large sizes, and the size of their earlobe was an indication of their social status.

The process of Aztec ear stretching was not a quick one. It required a lot of time, patience, and dedication. The process started by piercing the earlobe with a small hole, and over time, the hole was stretched to accommodate larger and larger jewellery. The stretching process was done gradually, with larger and larger gauges being inserted into the hole over a period of weeks or even months.

An Aztec stone carving.

Aztec Ear Stretchers, Made with Durable Materials

The jewellery used for Aztec ear stretching was made from various materials such as gold, silver, and jade, and was often decorated with intricate designs and symbols. The larger the gauge of the jewellery, the more wealth and status the wearer was perceived to have. The jewellery was often worn as a symbol of wealth and power, and it was not uncommon for Aztec rulers to wear elaborate jewellery in their ears.

One interesting aspect of Aztec ear stretching is that it was not only done on the earlobes. The Aztecs also stretched their upper ear cartilage, a practice known as tlaquahuitl. This practice was not as common as earlobe stretching and was mostly reserved for the nobility and priests. The process of tlaquahuitl was similar to earlobe stretching, with gradually larger gauges being inserted into the ear until the desired size was achieved.

Aztec patterns which inspire the designs at Custom Plugs.

Cultural and Religious Ear Stretching

While Aztec ear stretching was primarily a cultural and religious practice, it also had practical uses. Aztec warriors were known to wear earplugs made from obsidian, a hard and sharp volcanic glass, during battle. These earplugs not only protect their ears from damage but also acted as weapons, as the sharp edges could be used to inflict injury on their enemies.

Today, the practice of ear stretching is still prevalent in many cultures around the world. However, the practice has evolved, and many people now stretch their ears for aesthetic purposes rather than cultural or religious ones. There are many different types of jewellery available for ear stretching, including plugs, tunnels, and tapers, and the sizes and designs available are virtually limitless.

Aztec ear stretching was a unique and intricate practice that played a significant role in Aztec culture and religion. It was a symbol of wealth and power, and the size of one's earlobes was an indication of social status. While the practice has evolved over time, it remains an important part of many cultures around the world, and it continues to be a way for people to express themselves and their individuality.

Find ear plugs and tunnels made with similar materials here at Custom Plugs.

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