Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Typical Man's Garments from Chichicastenango

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Typical Man's Garments from Chichicastenango


Unlike Maya women’s dress, men’s dress, by contrast, reflects their greater participation in the political, economic, and religious colonial world established by the European invaders. Tailoring lengths of cloth, an idea that was antithetical to pre-Hispanic peoples who felt thread had a life force that would be severed by cutting, was applied early to men’s clothing. The flaring short pants and fitted jacket with collar, pockets, and cuffs are clearly European in origin. Maya men also wore a shoulder blanket, much like the women’s shawl but coarser and larger, carried a large bag, and folded their tzutes on their heads, retaining certain time-honored garment types.

Geographic Area

Central America, Guatemala, Chichicastenango


K’iche’ Maya


20th century


Cotton, sheep's wool, acrylic fiber

Credit Line

Bright Collection of Guatemalan Textiles

Accession Number

Tzut (on head), 2009.42.48; Jacket, 2009.42.93; Bag, 2009.42.92; Blanket (over shoulder), Bag (2009.42.92); 2009.42.121; Faja (Belt), 2009.42.373; Pants, 2009.42.96

Photo Credit

Photos by Michael McKelvey, 2017

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