Sunday, January 19, 2020

Textile Revolution

In addition to the "Anáhuac" exhibit at the Anthropology Museum, there was also a small, temporary display in the museum lobby which dealt with textiles from the town of Zinacantán in the state of Chiapas.  

In Chiapas each village has its own distinctive style of clothing.  In Zinacantán the clothes were traditionally handmade by women from cotton or wool, woven on a backstrap loom.  Because only natural dyes were used, the colors were muted.

A traditional woman's "huipil", a loose-fitting tunic, from Zinacantán

Then in the 1990s a revolution occurred in the cottage industry.  Acrylic fabrics, commercial dyes and even sewing machines became available.  Purists decry the loss of traditional methods, but modern innovations also had their benefits.  With a broader palette of colors, women were able to be more creative.  Perhaps because Zinacantán was the center for the commercial cultivation of flowers, the women began to include bright and intricate floral designs in their garment.  And because sewing machines made their work quicker, they have been able to benefit financially.  Woman have expanded their business and are exporting internationally.

Here are some less traditional but certainly beautiful examples of garments that were on display...


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