Fashioning Tradition: Maya Huipiles in the Field Museum Collection. J. Claire Odland.

Fashioning Tradition: Maya Huipiles in the Field Museum Collection

Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 2006.

67 pp. 66 color illustrations, 3 historic monochrome photos, 1 map. 7 x 10 Paperback in As New condition. Item #BOOKS010907I

Abstract: This study analyzes 145 huipiles (Maya women's blouses) stored in the Department of Anthropology at the Field Museum. These blouses were collected during the period 1893–1995 from seven towns in the Guatemalan Highlands (Cobán, Santa María de Jesús, San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Quetzaltenango, Comalapa, and Chichicastenango). The huipil, usually elaborately brocaded by hand on a back strap loom, is a traditional garment that continues to be popular and has great social significance. Changes in huipil fashion reflect political, economic, and social change in indigenous women's lives. Textiles are analyzed in the context of specific technological and material innovations, as well as social and historical events, relating these to changes in the huipil fashion for each town. Insight into the daily life, family, and gender roles in these communities is illustrated with photographs of huipiles in use and being made. Another important issue is the relationship between fashions in huipiles and the economic well being of women. Due to the increased political stability brought about by the Peace Accords, greater social mobility and relative prosperity allows Maya women to access huipil styles from other communities and to create nontraditional fashions.

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