The Weekly Photo Challenge is Ornate.
How does one transform plain cotton into an elegant work of art? The answer is simple if you are an indigenous Mayan weaver. Weaving colorful cotton fabric was an art form among high-ranking ancient Mayan women. Today, weaving is a daily part of Mayan women’s lives as they pass down their skills from generation to generation and sell their ornate woven products through women’s cooperatives in Guatemala.
Once the cotton is spun and twisted into threads, how does it transform from dull white to a magnificent array of colors?
Backstrap weaving is practiced by many of the artisans in the highlands of Guatemala. The finished products are dazzling masterpieces.
Mayan women traditionally wear traje, which is a combination of a skillfully woven multicolored blouse called a huipil, and a corte, a woven wraparound skirt that reaches to the ankles. The blouse and skirt are held together at the waist with a woven sash called a faja.
Each traje is a statement of her cultural and personal identity. Each village has its own style of weaving and dress, so you can usually tell which village a woman is from by the style of her elegant traje.
It is likely to take several months for a woman to weave her traje, by weaving 3-4 hours each day among her other tasks.
From plain to ornate! What an amazing tradition!