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Threads of Identity: Contemporary Maya Textiles

Threads of Identity: Contemporary Maya Textiles

Mint Museum RANDOLPH Jan 02 2010 - Dec 31 2013  /  This exhibition features Maya traditional clothing, including fashions of the Kaqchikel, Ixil, K’iche’, Mam, Tz’utujil, Chuj, Awakatek, Jakaltek and Poqomchi’ from Guatemala, and Tzotzil and Tzeltal from Chiapas, Mexico.

Exhibition Highlights

About The Exhibition

Maya peoples of Guatemala and southeastern Mexico are renowned for their time-honored tradition of magnificent attire. Throughout the world, clothing transforms the biological body into a socio-cultural being, integrating the person into the community. Among the Maya, dress is an outward expression of cultural pride. Dress also conveys one’s place in the world, signaling social identity and geographic origin or current community. It also articulates social structure, political affiliation and religious ideology by way of its decoration which comprises a symbol system of visual codes, the ability to read the message reflecting one’s degree of cultural initiation.

Today’s repertoire of Maya traditional clothing, called traje, developed primarily during the Colonial Period (1521-1821 C.E.) as a forced adoption of European dress. Yet elements of traje reach back more than 2,300 years. Today’s fashions, as adaptations of imposed, foreign modes to indigenous couture, are testimony to Maya perseverance in spite of hundreds of years of colonization, enslavement and genocide.

Maya clothing styles generally are divided along language boundaries. This exhibition features fashions of the Kaqchikel, Ixil, K’iche’, Mam, Tz’utujil, Chuj, Awakatek, Jakaltek and Poqomchi’ from Guatemala, and Tzotzil and Tzeltal from Chiapas, Mexico.


Online Resources

For more information on this exhibition, please visit the Mintwiki. Created by The Mint Museum Library, Mintwiki provides online information on the special exhibitions and permanent collections of The Mint Museum.

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