Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art
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Traditional costume

Chamula Woman, 1996
Traditional costume woven on a back-strap loom
San Juan Chamula, Chiapas

One of the most prolific branches of Mexican folk art, textile production reflects an interweaving of Native and Spanish traditions. Production begins by harvesting crops of pre-Hispanic origin, such as cotton. Sheep and silkworms, introduced to Mexico by the Spanish, are also raised for wool and silk. Once harvested, artists card, spin, spool, dye, and weave the raw materials into sarapes, woolen rugs, embroidery, traditional Native attire, and clothing of mixed ethnic origin.

Textile production is deeply rooted in tradition. The Maya of Chiapas spin, set looms, weave, and make measurements based on units of 20, the foundation of ancient Mayan mathematics. Hand woven fabrics also incorporate designs passed down from generation to generation, preserving the myths and history of the artistsí communities. Woolen gabanes (men’s overcoats) from Huepayan, Morelos; blankets from Victoria, Guanajuato, and Navojoa, Sonora; and sashes from Samachique, Chihuahua, all reflect the endurance of ancient designs and production techniques.

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Name Cecilia Bautista Caballero
Area Textiles
Specialty Weaving (Cotton and Artisela)
State Michoacán
Locality Paracho
Photography by Lourdes Almeida
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