^The early civilizations of Central and South America paid careful attention to their personal cleanliness and created many different ornaments to beautify the body. Decoration among all Central and South American groups indicated social rank. The Aztecs took this idea very seriously and punished anyone wearing an article of clothing or decoration above his birthright or honorary right with death.
Before adorning themselves, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas all cleaned themselves thoroughly. Evidence suggests that Mayans used a steam bath to cleanse themselves. Aztecs washed themselves daily, and some bathed twice each day in cold rivers and streams. Aztecs also enjoyed a steam bath in a bathhouse, a domed building heated with a fireplace. The Incas also bathed frequently, and the wealthiest soaked in steaming mineral water piped into their own private bathhouses from hot springs. Once clean, these early Americans adorned themselves in a variety of different ways.
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