Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Woman's Huipíl (Blouse) with Purple Background

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Before Treatment Huipil.jpg
After Treatment Huipil.jpg


Woman's Huipíl (Blouse) with Purple Background


Clearly, the 1980s saw a brightening of the Maya blouse color palette. Vast pink and purple plain areas became common, reflecting the same value placed on those prestigious colors as in the past; however, they were solely accomplished through synthetic (aniline) dyes. Flowers are still present in this huipíl, but appear smaller in size and located in more peripheral design areas.

Geographic Area

Central America, Guatemala, Chichicastenango


K’iche’ Maya


Ca. 1980


Cotton, acrylic fiber

Credit Line

Bright Collection of Guatemalan Textiles

Accession Number


Photo Credit

Photos by Michael McKelvey, 2017

Technical Notes

The brocaded neck on this colorful huipíl was badly frayed.  Conservator Patricia Ewer carefully re-aligned the threads and secured them to a small cotton patch on the inside of the huipíl.  She then sewed black nylon net over the loose threads to keep the threads in place and make the design legible. The net and stitches are scarcely visible and do not disrupt the bold pattern of the garment.

For more conservation information, please see The Threads of Time Conservation Project.

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