Woman's huipil (bodice) - ROM2014_14346_48


Woman's huipil (bodice)

Maker: Maya culture
Medium:Cotton tabby with cross-stitch embroidery
Geography: Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Date: 1950-1975
82 x 73 cm
Object number: 976.223.81
Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Jaroslaw T. Petryshyn
Not on view

This everyday huipil (hipil in Yucatec Maya) is made of commercial cotton cloth, hand-worked in cross stitch with traditional floral designs. The huipil's edges follow the contours of the flowers. In recent years, hand embroidery has been largely replaced by machine embroidery, or even by appliquéd strips of printed cloth..


The pre-Conquest huipil is a sleeveless, rectangular tunic that is still worn in several states, including Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero, and Chiapas, and by Maya women on the Yucatán Peninsula. Today, some women buy cloth and personalize it with embroidery and appliqué, while others still weave traditional huipil styles on the backstrap loom. Though construction methods and designs vary according to region and culture, most makers use two or three loom widths. In some communities, the garments are long and hang freely, even reaching the ankles. In other communities, where garments are short, they stop at the waist or are worn tucked inside a skirt.

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