«Plumes» at the Musée du Quai Branly
By its symbolic and religious dimension, the feather played a major role in pre-Columbian societies. Associated with the gods and founding myths, reserved for the use of the caciques and the warriors, the precious feathers assumed a sacred role, of which the first evangelizers understood the importance by diverting them to the Christian message. Of all the wealth brought back from Mexico, the plumasseries were certainly the most appreciated works in Europe. Their iridescent colors and their delicacy of execution quickly made the success of the most famous cabinets of curiosities. The feather will then impose itself as one of the emblems of the New World in the western collective imagination.