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Weaving is a family affair


The traditional women's traje (outfit) consists of a skirt called a corte, and a huipil, which is the blouse.  These are both handwoven. The core is woven on a wooden foot-pedal loom. This weaving traditionally has been done by men as it requires a lot of strength, though now it is also done by women as weaving is a cottage industry that the whole family participates in.  Mayan women continue to wear their trajes throughout Guatemala.

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Corte Weaving

Huipils, The traditional Mayan blouse


A huipil is the traditional, hand-woven blouse worn by Mayan women and girls. The designs and patterns are unique to specific regions or towns making it possible to know the community where a woman lives. Patterns are often quite detailed and express Mayan history, religion, and/or their sacred calendar.  Weavings from San Antonio Aguas Caliente are famous because there are no wrong sides. 


Women weave huipiles using a back-strap loom, and this skill is passed on to their daughters. One end of the loom is tied to a tree, post, or wall, and the other end is wrapped around the woman's back, allowing her to increase or decrease the tension by moving forward or backward.


Women and girls continue to wear their traditional clothing, although it is not as common for men to do so, except in rural areas.  A man's traje, also woven by women, would consist of a hat, brightly colored shirt, and knee-length pants.  Pants are often embellished with hand embroidery.

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