buried mirror: latest reflections

mesoamerica and the maya world

Category: textiles

Ancient Maya produced high-quality textiles

girl with embroidered blouse in momostenango, guatemala

That the ancient Maya produced high-quality textiles will come as little surprise to anyone who has traveled through the modern Maya world. But because few textiles are preserved from ancient times, it has been difficult to confirm that this was the case. Now researchers at the University of Rhode Island have performed a lab analysis of forty-nine samples from a tomb at Copan. The analysis showed a high degree of sophistication in the textiles’ manufacture — one had a count of 100 yarns per inch, which would be high by modern technology and consequently “speaks to the technology they had at the time for making very fine fabrics” according to textiles conservator Margaret Ordoñez.

The story is at ScienceDaily. The article has a weird lead, which claims that “Very few textiles from the Mayan culture have survived.” When will people learn that the Maya culture is still very much alive? And that “Mayan” is the adjective for the language, not the culture?

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Image of girl from Momostenango from DavidDennis’ photostream

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Nim Po’t, textile and folk art cooperative, La Antigua, Guatemala

Nim Po’t is a kind of folk art cooperative or consignment market located near the Arco at 5a Avenida Norte #29 in La Antigua, Guatemala. The quality of their merchandise varies, but their website provides a useful service by relating textile styles to the pueblos where they are made (each Guatemala highland village has an identifiable textile design and iconography). It is possible to shop online via the website. Antigua may the most expensive place to buy Guatmalan crafts, but there is no need to obsess over prices, and your money will go a long way for the sellers.

Who knows what “nim po’t” means?

nim pot, guatemalan textile, crafts, antigua

Unusual Guatemalan embroidery

guatemala embroidery representing constellations

Luis Figueroa, a columnist for Prensa Libre, maintains a blog called by the same name as his column, “Carpe Diem.” His most recent post included this image of an embroidery from Magdalena Milpas Altas (a municipality in the department of Sacatepéquez), Guatemala, ca. 1941. The textile is extremely unusual. Does it represent a particular constellation, and if so what is its significance?

The textile was exhibited at the Museo Ixchel de Traje Indigena, located on the campus of the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in zone 10 of the capital.

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