- Ancient Peru
- Modern Bolivia
- Modern Panama
- Modern Guatemala
Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles
Maya huipíles, indigenous women’s rectangular blouses, vary from one town to another in Guatemala. Weavers from the town of Chimaltenango, in north-central Guatemala, expresses their ethnicity in very skillfully brocaded pieces, with rows of bold geometric patterns in brilliant colors. They weave the panels of their blouses on backstrap looms.
Though now made from aniline (chemically derived) dyes, the purples and greens are part of an age-old palette of natural colors valued by the Maya and other indigenous peoples. Likewise, the ancient Maya valued greenstones, especially jadeite, above all else. Its color cousin, blue, was applied to ceramics after firing using a mixture of clays and minerals known as Maya Blue. These colors that are rare in nature have remained at the top of the Maya palette over the millennia, despite the massive changes that have taken place in the Americas from the Spanish invasion to globalization.
Central America, Guatemala, Chimaltenango
Gift of Anne Sayre
Photo by Michael McKelvey, 2017