One of the visits I have been looking forward to most was our meeting with Brenda at the Centro del textiles Mundo Maya, San Cristobal.
It was a wonderful finale to our very busy week in Chiapas, to have a private tour and understand their missions in the preservation and exhibition of textile collections, the study and coexistence of ancient textile traditions and also the great work they are doing in connecting weavers and embroiderers by providing workshops to teach new generations which is creating a revival of some of the ancient techniques.
One of the current temporary exhibits shows an example of the tortilla bags women would weave for their husbands when going out into the land to work for the day which shows the changes in materials used and embroidery techniques. Another is a reenactment of a traditional wedding, in which you can see some of the original Aztec clothing and then the influences following the Spanish conquest which is very interesting.
One detail I liked in particular was that when a new baby was born into the community, they would be given a wooden spindle and then they would be buried with the same spindle when their time came to pass.
The museo has an extensive collection of Mayan traditional outfits throughout the ages and they have invested a lot in preserving the collection which includes over 2,500 pieces.
When you walk around to see each Huipil you can open up a series of drawers below, showing the development of the stitching, embroidery and inspirations through the ages. Opening each draw gets more and more exciting as the colours and intricate stitching all vary so much, it really is beautifully presented.
I feel like I have got many answers to my questions from this meeting. It will take a while to translate the hours of information and I think I will have to create a special folder of the truly beautiful textiles too, which I will do as soon as I have time.
In the meantime here is a photo of one of the huipils with a great quote I found on the wall at the museo.
“The search for beauty is constant which is why the textiles made at the hands of these talented women are genuine works of art”