Returning to Chiapas after two years, a NEW world class textile museum was waiting to be explored. The Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya is located in the Convento Santo Domingo in San Cristobal de las Casas, which underwent extensive renovations to accommodate Guatemalan textiles from Formento Cultural Banamex Collection and the Pellizzi Collection of Chiapan textiles. Excellent state of the art lighting, displays and investigative opportunities await the visitor. Signs are in English and Spanish and many of the textiles are from the 1970’s – 80’s considered a renaissance period for Mayan textiles. As a collector I certainly was happy to see excellent examples of ceremonial garments from Chiapas, Guatemala and three perfect cross-stich embroidered huipiles from Yucatan. These are included in the following slide show. If you are ‘doing textiles in Chiapas’, don’t miss this museum as well as the Sergio Castro Collection – open evenings by appointment and explored in a past post.
Currently I’m exploring the textiles of the Highland Mayas of Chiapas by visiting villages, markets, and if I’m lucky. a festival or ceremony in process. Many villages are having the changing of their civil and spiritual leaders through the passing of ‘cargos’ (obligations), so ceremonies are common and luckily for me, traditional costumes are in abundance. The downside of this story is that photographing their ceremonies and their costumes is prohibited by village tradition. On several occasions I just ‘got lucky’ and managed to get an image and other times I was invited to take a picture. Sometimes the images of these groups of people have been so stunning it will be indelible in my visual memory. What I will try and do is give you a taste of the textiles worn by the people in the area of San Cristobal de las Casas. Some of these were in taken in the villages – others were taken on the street during the funeral Jan. 26, 2011 of the famous Bishop Samuel Ruiz who championed the rights of the indigenous people through the ‘theology of liberation’ in the 70’s . It is obvious which people were compliant in these images and I hope to have more textile friends like the V. Carranza weavers I am documenting with more in-depth information in the future. Enjoy this sampling of the beautiful and intricate textiles of Chiapas.