Mayan Textile exhibition to showcase collection of Guatemalan hand woven cottons and silks traditional wear

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-08-06 16:30:00 – Guatemalan

Mayan textile exhibition is a privately owned collection of Guatemalan hand woven cottons and silks, that represent a colourful picture of the Mayan Indian culture and life.


The bulk of the collection consists of, Huipiles, that are women's traditional wear and are fully embroidered using cotton silk and other colourful threads. Also a collection of Ikat , or (Jaspe) a weaving dying technique is also part of the collection.


The Mayan peoples of Mexico and Central America form one of the largest indigenous populations in the Americas. The Mayan people are well-known for the beauty, quality, and sophistication of their textiles. This reputation persists because of, the rather simple tools used by Mayan men and women to produce these textiles.


The Mayan people make use of back-strap loom for weaving, in which one end of the loom is tied to a tree and the other around her waist and weave with the shuttle in her left hand. Today, women in the highlands weave the finest textiles in exactly the same way.


Women almost exclusively use the back-strap loom which can be used by women at home or while in the field tending sheep.


All types of fabric are woven on a back-strap loom but, most specifically, the huipil or traditional blouse of the Mayan woman. The corte and the huipil are part of the traje or traditional dress of every Mayan woman. The design of the huipil is a testament of cultural identity and artistic expression as each weaver weaves her own history and philosophy of the universe into the garment. One huipil may take several months to weave depending on the complexity of the design.


The treadle (or foot) loom was introduced to Mayan weavers by the Spanish shortly after the Conquest. As was the Spanish tradition, mostly men weave on the treadle loom although some women do as well.
The most typical fabric produced on the foot loom is the corte, or skirt material worn by Mayan women. The corte fabric is village specific. It typically takes about 8 hours to weave one yard of corte fabric due to it's complex designs.
The Mayan exhibition will be held in Kenilworth at the Community Hall at the show grounds on the 30th and 31 of August.

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