Woman's wedding huipil with artificial silk brocading, extremely fine design
This post-1980 wedding 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) is also still present.
I purchased this huipil in February of 2011 from an old woman from Nahuala whom I have known for over 10 years. We visited her in her house and she brought out some special textiles which she does not normally show to the public. This is a ceremonial wedding huipil, woven by one of her daughters. It is a very beautiful and special garment.
This wedding 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 intricate designs are traditional, and very finely woven.
Measurements: 30 inches wide across the shoulders, 28 inches across at the waist, and tapering to 34 inches at the bottom; and 28 inches long, more or less, from shoulder to hem. The width differences were created by couched pleats sewn vertically in each side panel. The huipil designs are somewhat different front and back, and both sides are shown in the photos sbelow.
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.