Woman's huipil with artificial silk brocading, bulls design
This post-1980 special use huipil was hand-woven on a backstrap loom. The foundation fabric is cotton, in natural white color, and very finely woven. The very intricate designs were added during the weaving process using the technique of supplemental-weft brocading. They were made using artificial silk (rayon or orlon embroidery floss) as well as polished cotton colored threads. It consists of two panels, seemed down the center. All four of the lower edges are nicely selvage-finished. The adornment around the head- and arm-holes is retained. The side stitching (which made the huipil into a finished garment to be used) has been removed.
This special or ceremonial use huipil incorporates artificial silk for the red color. That thread was chosen specifically to bleed the red color into the white foundation fabric. The real silk used 50-75 years ago would bleed in this manner, so this appearance is a status symbol for these Maya women. Thus what may appear to American woman as a flaw in the making, is considered by indigenous women as a virtue, an effect to be encouraged and enhanced. The designs in both the front and the back are the same. This is a particularly beautiful example. The primary design is a bull with long horns and strong features.
Measurements: 32 inches wide across the shoulders, tapering to 34 inches at the bottom; and 27 inches long, more or less, from shoulder to hem. The huipil designs are the same front and back.
Condition: Excellent, lightly used, with some light soil possible. Looseness in the white cotton foundation, where the weaving batten was removed at the end of the weaving. This is a really beautiful garment.