Friday, November 2, 2012

Hand Woven Textiles Reflect Tapestries of History and Culture

       The Nim Po’t Centro de Textile, a large warehouse and store near the famous arch in Antigua, Guatemala, sells an array of folk, hand crafted art from different regions of the country, reflecting the immense diversity in talents and cultures. Featured in the Bilingual Frontera/Tecúm Umán production slide show, The Nim Po’t Centro de Textiles are examples of the hand woven work represented in the woman’s blouse called huipil. The multi-media production has a subtitle of “Un homenaje a la mujer Guatemalteca” that refers to honoring the talented weavers, the majority whom are women.

     The Department of Sololá (á_Department) has 20 municipalities, a lake, Lago Atitlán, and Volcán Tolimán. Santiago Atitlán, on the shores of the lake, is accessible mainly by boat, and reportedly houses the Museum of the Cojolya Association of Maya Women Weavers.

San Lucas Toliman, Solola
     The huipil is a bright reddish color with detailed designs in the upper area. Small colorful flowers accent the collar giving it an appearance of a necklace.

Santiago Atitlán, Sololá
     The piece is lavender in color with dark vertical stripes. The upper huipil has small squares with designs of greenish and bluish hues.  Medium size flowers adorn the collar as a necklace.

       Sacatepéquez (équez_Department) has 16 municipalities; Antigua is the capital. The city of Sacatapéquez was founded in 1542 but was destroyed by the powerful Santa María earthquake in 1773.

San Pedro, Sacatepéquez
     The huipil has a white color bottom; the upper ¾ has colorful designs of squares, rectangles, and other geometric designs of red, yellow, and blue-green hues.

Santo Domingo, Sacatepéquez
     Mostly in a deep red color with stripes in the shoulder area, the huipil has colorful geometric designs mixing bold reddish and blue colors with pastels of pink, blue, and yellow. Down the middle of the huipil is a ribbon with similar geometric designs.

San Juan, Sacatepéquez
     The huipil features stripes in gold and navy and royal blue; the upper middle has square designs with similar color scheme.

Santiago, Sacatepéquez
     In the lower part, the huipil has checkered red and while squares; the upper features slanted red rectangular designs with small multi-colored blue green and yellow diamond designs interspersed in pattern form.

San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Sacatepéquez
     This piece has a green colored background completely woven with uniquely different horizontal stripes with a variety of designs. The upper part has a floral design.

       Chimaltenango ( has 16 municipalities with half a million residents.  

Tecpán, Chimaltenango
     The huipil has a white color bottom while the top has geometric designs, each with a different color scheme using reds, greens, and blues.  About midway, the huipil has a large strip with floral and foliage designs.

San Juan Comalopa, Chimaltenango
     This piece has horizontal stripes with roses and other floral designs. The bottom part has a row of small vertical rectangular pieces of different colors.

Patzún, Chimaltenango
     This piece features a large bodice of colorful flowers against a maroon colored striped material.

       Huehuetenango ( has 31 municipalities and borders with Mexico. The Mayan city of Zaculeu, later became the city of Huehuetenango, was conquered by a cousin of de Alvarado in 1525. The Mam king, Kayb’il B’alam surrendered and the Spaniards took over the governing reins. Huehuetenango is the second largest department in Guatemala and has the largest numbers of Mam speakers, although several other indigenous groups reportedly reside in the area.

Aguacatán, Huehuetenango
     Made of white material, the huipil has a reddish collar, colorful stripes, and a lacy bottom.

Idelfonso Ixtahuacán, Huehuetenango
     This huipil has maroon vertical stripes against a natural cotton background. It is accented with small geometric designs using same color thread. Tassles adorn the bottom edge of the huipil.

Todos Santos Cuchumatán, Huehuetenango
     In this piece, two like panels are on each side and a different panel in the center. The two outer panels have thin vertical reddish stripes on blue-green material.  The center part consists of square and rectangle designs of blue and red hues. The collar is necklace-like with loops of red thread geometrically laid around the collar area.

       Alta Verapaz ( has 17 municipalities, including Q’eqchi’ and Poqomchi’ speakers. “Verapaz” comes from the Spanish, “true peace,” originating from the fact that the Spanish conquistadors couldn’t conquer the fierce-fighting soldiers, but the Catholic friars won them over with the Christian religion.

Cobán, Alta Verapaz
     This is a bright red piece with simple horizontal designs using the same color thread.

        Totonicapán (án_Department) consists of 8 municipalities, mostly of K’iché speaking residents. In 1820, the indigenous communities led a revolt against the Spanish conquistadors, but were eventually defeated although the leader was declared King Tsul.

     This piece has solid gold-yellow horizontal stripes alternated with motif-studded stripes, using the same color scheme but accented with dark blues and greens.  The bottom has medium size black horizontal stripes against white color material.   

     Quetzaltenango ( consists of 24 municipalities, many of them K’iché and Mam speaking residents. Before the Spanish conquest, the department was part of the K’iché state of Q’umarkaj. The Quetzaltenango town is known as Xela by locals rather than use the Nahuatl name, which means loosely “the land of the quetzal bird.”

San Juan Chile Verde, Quetzaltenango
     This huipil features embroidered nature scene designs with fish, birds, and foliage. In the middle of the huipil is a string of diamond-shape motifs running across horizontally. 



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