Mayan fabric, weaving

The exceptional art of weaving in Guatemala

The finest clothing made is a person’s own skin, but, of course, society demands more than this. – Mark Twain

Mayan fabric, weaving
Photo Credit: Jette Møller Moller

            The practice of backstrap loom weaving of Mayan women in the highlands of Guatemala, is an exceptional art and a distinctive part of their culture long before the conquest of the Spaniards. Through weaving, the Mayans communicate their personal identity, their heritage and their ideological beliefs.  Every design, colors and patterns convey a story of the Mayan culture.  One of the most important associations that weaving has to the supernatural is its association with the deities, primarily the moon goddess Ixchel. Believed to have invented weaving, she was the patron of conception, childbirth, medicine, and reproduction.

Mayan women keep the art of weaving, they have advance knowledge in weaving and struggles to keep the art. This is why Guatemala woman is considered to be an artist. For them, it is important that when they see a weaver’s product that they see the inspiration of the ancestors, the strength of a great culture.

Photo Credit: Jette Møller Moller

The art and tradition of weaving is passed from one generation to another. Many afternoons, the girls in the community gets together in the shade of a huge tree and do their weaving. They talk and weave, and grandmothers sometimes join them to tell stories.

Today, weaving has become a great source of income of both households and villages. Oftentimes, young girls learn to weave before going to school. Even though cultural contact has influenced many of the techniques and materials used in weaving, it has not eliminated the ancestral cosmology and symbolism still found in weaving throughout Guatemala. Weaving, an exceptional art that conveys the strength of a great culture.

Photo disclaimer: The Mixed Culture does not own the photo(s) used in this post, however, proper permission to use the photo(s) above was given to The Mixed Culture. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any photo(s) without express and written permission from the artist and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For any photo related interest, please contact the artist directly by visiting the webpage provided or leave us a message.


2 thoughts on “The exceptional art of weaving in Guatemala

  1. love this post! Guatemalan Mayan weaving is really so beautiful. I had the privileged of visiting a women’s weaving collective in the highlands, we spent a day visiting, they showed us how they do their weaving, and they taught us to make corn tortillas. I felt as though I was in the bosom of Ixchel. 🙂 Thanks for sharing these photos.

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