What is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Chiapas? Gastronomy, nature, tradition, history, and of course handicrafts.
Those pieces of art made with different materials and with different inspirations that reflect the cultural diversity of the indigenous peoples and allow us to take home a bit of all the colors, we can see on a trip to the south of Mexico. In the particular case of Chiapas, each visit offers a menu of beauties ranging from amber, lacquer, wood carving, ceramics, and of course, the famous indigenous textiles.
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The indigenous textiles made in Chiapas are unique because they recover the techniques transmitted from generation to generation in their designs. These fabrics are impregnated with the roots and the evolution of traditions over time. Their designs are mostly made by women who have learned the knowledge of backstrap loom weaving since they were children.
Textiles in the Chiapas Highlands
Whether it is a shawl, table runner, tablecloths, huipiles, cushions, dresses, to mention a few, these textiles harbor behind each thread the cosmology of Chiapas’ people. Although there are different techniques for embroidery, women specialize in the backstrap loom. The process consists of interweaving colored lines and creating brocades, or a piece of fabric is made that is later embroidered by hand, with flowers and other drawings in cross stitch or by machine.
Textiles from Zinacatan
Currently, the production of textiles in Zinacatán is characterized by being ornamented with flowers, although this was not always the case. According to the specialist, Patricia Greenfield, the design of the embroidery was totally influenced by corn, which was cultivated in the villages. Now flowers are used because many communities make their living from them.
In Zinacantán, there are many textile workshops, usually family-run, where beautiful garments are hand-woven. It is worth visiting them and contemplating the meticulous and splendid work of the women. The looms are typically located inside the houses or in the courtyards of the houses.
Textiles of San Juan Chamula
San Juan Chamula is known for the incomparable beauty of its handmade textiles and embroidery. In the mountains, wool work is especially famous on this site.
The Chamulas raise sheep exclusively to obtain their fur and turn it into beautiful typical garments. For them, these animals are sacred, and for that reason, they take great care of them. But in addition, their textiles are embroidered in sheep wool since it is one of the coldest areas of Chiapas.
Immersion in the Mayan villages of Chiapas with Rutopia
In Rutopia, we offer a route through the south of Mexico, visiting communities in the Chiapas Highlands. First, travelers visit the town of San Juan Chamula, which is located near the quiet and famous San Cristobal. On this trip, travelers will have the opportunity to experience the cultural authenticity of the Tzotzil people by visiting the famous Sunday market.
In this dazzling and colorful market, travelers can admire the beautiful traditional indigenous textiles of the Tzotzil. But Juan Chamula’s market is not the only attraction of the town. The church of San Juan Chamula, a religious complex of colonial architecture, transports you to the heart of the Mayan beliefs and rituals of the Tzotzil people.
The tour continues in the beautiful town of Zinacantán. Here travelers have the opportunity to learn the techniques of authentic Chiapas weaving. In addition to the weavings, travelers can enjoy the flavors of the local gastronomy, a trip that will delight all the senses.
Both the indigenous community of Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula are a must if you want to travel and learn more about life in the communities of the highlands of Chiapas.
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