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Modern Maya Children’s Dress

Traci Ardren

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

In Maya culture children are considered a gift to be cherished. Many families are quite large, and older children grow up taking care of their siblings and learning household tasks at an early age. Girls as young as eight often weave using a backstrap loom, a loom used for indigenous manual weaving, or spin thread from wool and cotton. Boys begin to hunt small game and help in cornfields about the same age. Clothing is used to express ideas about village and ethnic identity, as well as the strict

Central American Headwear

Beverly Chico

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

Central America includes seven countries: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. A tropical jungle covers eastern sections of Honduras and Nicaragua along the “Mosquito Coast.” Geography has influenced the development of clothing and headwear in this region. After the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, Europeans began dominating local inhabitants, using them as miners, farm laborers, or for maritime trade. Slaves were also transported from Africa and the West Indi

Maya Dress and Fashion in Guatemala

Barbara Knoke de Arathoon and Rosario Miralbés de Polanco

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

Maya or indigenous dress, or traje, as well as the many weavings that are an integral part of both daily and ceremonial life, embody multiple, complex, and ambivalent types of symbolism. Any attempt to present an overview can easily become a simplistic endeavor. Traje and textiles are silent but eloquent expressive forms conveying multiple meanings, especially by women, as they are the principal medium through which ethnic identity is transmitted and constructed. This identity is shaped at indivi

Spanish Influences in Maya Clothing of Guatemala

Olga Arriola de Geng

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

With the arrival of Spanish colonization, the Maya of Guatemala—mainly the men, because they were in closer contact with the colonial Spanish world—were forced to modify their clothing. The new garments were copied and adapted from Spanish fashion, which was worn in those days by farmers, craftsmen, and other members of the working class who had arrived from Spain. The men adopted the shirt and the zaragüelles or breeches (zaragüelles are a type of wide breeches, used in Valencia and Murcia, in w

The Maya of Tecpán, Guatemala

Carol Hendrickson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

While much can be written about Guatemalan traje (Maya dress) in general, the Maya experience of dress should always be understood in the context of specific social conditions, historical frames, and cultural meanings. In the case of one municipality—TecpánGuatemala—it is useful to consider the issues that Tecpanecos (residents of Tecpán) experience, talk about, and act upon daily in relation to Maya dress. Late-twentieth-century and early-twenty-first-century fashion in Maya dress, notably the h

Sna Jolobil: A Textile Cooperative

Kathryn Klein

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

While the ancient Maya tradition of backstrap loom weaving and the wearing of traditional clothing had continued for millennia, the quality of handwoven work had waned by the early 1970s, as it had in many other areas of the world. With a keen interest in Maya textile traditions, two young businessmen, Walter F. Morris Jr. (Chip) of the United States and Pedro Meza Meza of the Maya town of Tenejapa, Chiapas, initiated what was to become the Sna Jolobil (The House of the Weaver) weaving cooperativ

Ancient Maya

Matthew Looper

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The Maya civilization, particularly during the Classical period (250–900 c.e.), provides some of the most extensive evidence for dress in the ancient Americas. Sculpted, modeled, and painted images portray the rituals and myths surrounding prestigious status. Generally, only durable materials survive. Elite burials provide the most significant remains; there is considerably more information on prestigious ritual dress than on clothing in other contexts. Maya dress generally changed little, and ma

Southern Maya Dress of Southwestern Guatemala

Matthew Looper

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The Mam (Maya) people living in various communities in the department of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, wear traditional attire reflecting gender roles and social interactions. As elsewhere in the Maya area, the Quetzaltenango Mam’s dress traditions differ markedly from that of ladinos (non-Maya). Traditional indigenous clothing—traje in Spanish—comprises combinations of garments having a particular structure and style. Trajes generally vary according to municipality of origin, although certain featu

Maya Dress and Fashion in Chiapas

Ashley E. Maynard and Patricia Marks Greenfield

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

A transition has taken place in Maya communities in highland Chiapas, Mexico, from a few traditional, defined patterns for each article of clothing to the concept of fashion, with its traits of change and innovation. This transition to fashion occurred as the communities moved from a subsistence and agriculture economy to one based on money and commerce. A notable example is Nabenchauk, a hamlet in Zinacantán, where research has been conducted by cultural psychologist Patricia Greenfield since 19

Maya Traditions: A Weaving Cooperative

Jane Mintz

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

Maya Traditions, a U.S. fair trade business and Guatemalan nonprofit organization, evolved as an effort to preserve the tradition of Maya backstrap weaving and renew the demand for and the production of high-quality indigenous textiles while improving the living situation of Maya women in rural highland villages.

The Huipil of Guatemala

J. Claire Odland

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

In the highlands of Guatemala, indigenous Maya women are well known for their beautiful traditional dress, called traje. Women’s traje consists of a huipil (blouse or tunic), corte (skirt), faja (sash), and may include a distinctive headdress, shawl, apron, and overblouse as well. The huipil, usually brocaded by hand on a backstrap 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

Dress of Eastern Guatemala

Kathryn Rousso

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The land between Guatemala City, Honduras, and El Salvador is termed the Oriente (East). Characterized by low rolling hills with occasional eroded volcanic cones, it can be very hot and dry. The people living here represent a mix of Maya, Pipil, and ladino (a person of mixed blood who speaks Spanish, follows Spanish customs, and wears Western-style clothes). The Maya of this region are the Poqomám, and the Ch’orti’, both differing culturally from the Maya of the western highlands. When the Spanis

Belize

Yolanda Garfias Woo

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The land of the ancient Maya covered Guatemala, Belize, northern Honduras, and El Salvador, along with the Mexican states of Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Campeche, Chiapas, and Tabasco. Carvings, painted pottery, and other artifacts found at ancient sites provide information regarding early Mayan dress, showing its similarity to other clothing in the Yucatán Peninsula at that time. Mayans were skilled textile and jewelry makers, following a strict class system, which allowed only elite individuals to w

The Yucatán

Yolanda Garfias Woo

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The Maya culture covers the Yucatán Peninsula, Chiapas, present-day Belize, Guatemala, northern El Salvador, and Honduras. Documentation describing pre-Hispanic Yucatán clothing includes four ancient Maya codices (books), known today as the Paris, the Madrid, the Dresden, and the Groelier. Maya clothing was both simple and complex, determined by function and class. Men wore loincloths, more elaborate ones for elites, under hip-cloths; the Dresden Codice depicts a long “kilt.” Headdresses were wor

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