Friday, May 4, 2012

Guatemala's Greatest Hits; well, a start anyway...

Textile Heavens!  Guatemala definitely makes the top 5.  Here's why... 

I think I mentioned that we stuck a bed/bath/closet onto our house after we bought it.  We've been slowly decorating it, and a few weekends ago the Roommate put up a curtain rod (about the only way we've come up w/ that gently displays our textile collection) above our bed.  And the first thing on it is two of our many treasures from Guatemala.

It's a huipile (tunic) from Aguas Calientes.  The weaving & embroidery styles for each area of the country are quite distinctive, and it's generally easy to tell where women are from by the lovely tops & skirts they are wearing.  The Anthropology Museum in Columbia, Missouri has a nice online exhibit, if you'd like to see more.  And here's a photo of a woman from Aguas Calientes, wearing her lovely huipile, and weaving another.

The detail is amazing, as you can see from this second photo.  It has many of the typical elements of huipile design (zig zags, bluebirds, flowers, other trimmings), but of course rearranged in a pattern pleasing to the weaver (who most likely is also the wearer).

We've had weavers look at it & they say they cannot tell if it was woven or embroidered, the work is so fine.

We also got a 6-foot long headdress from Nebaj out of storage.  Nebaj is way in the north of Guatemala.  Here's a photo of a woman from that area wearing such a sash braided into her hair.  I couldn't afford one of the really long ones (12'), we were living on about $30/day between the 2 of us, and had to be careful what we bought.  However, you will be glad to know we budgeted (and spent) about 15% on textiles on our 14 week trip through Central America.  Cheap buses & hotel rooms quickly fade from memory, but the richness of the traditional textiles we've bought will be with us always!  (Our mantra?  Should have bought more!)

Here are a few other woven bands we got there, also worn braided into the hair by the women of the various regions.
Thank you for looking at more of our treasures!  You can always ask questions in the comments section, and I will try to answer, if I am able.

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