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A macuahuitl (ma??k?awit??) is a wooden club with obsidian blades. The name is derived from the Nahuatl language and means “hand-wood”.2 Its sides are embedded with prismatic blades traditionally made from obsidian; obsidian is capable of producing an edge sharper than high quality steel razor blades. The macuahuitl was a standard close combat weapon.

Use of the maquahuitl as a weapon is attested from the first millennium CE. By the time of the Spanish conquest the macuahuitl was widely distributed in Mesoamerica. The weapon was used by different civilisations including the Aztec (Mexicas), Mayan, Mixtec and Toltec.

One example of this weapon survived the Conquest of Mexico; it was part of the Royal Armoury of Madrid until it was destroyed by a fire in 1884. Images of the original designs survive in diverse catalogues. The oldest replica is the macuahuitl created by the medievalist Achille Jubinal in the 19th century.

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