Woman's quechquemitl (closed shoulder cape) - ROM2014_14421_25


Woman's quechquemitl (closed shoulder cape)

Maker: Probably Otomí or Nahua culture
Medium:Cotton tabby with wool cross stitch embroidery
Geography: State of San Luis Potosi or Hidalgo, Mexico
Date: 1949
79 x 85 cm
Object number: 986.206.2
Credit Line: This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of Mrs. A. Murray Vaughan from the Doris Heyden Collection
Not on view

This type of quechquemitl is no longer worn. These elaborate cross-stitched designs are close to motifs seen on 19th-century samplers -- animals and birds, symmetrical plant designs with flowers in vases, and eight-point stars that double as flowers


The quechquemitl is a uniquely Mexican garment that evolved 15 centuries ago — goddesses in Aztec sculpture were often depicted wearing one. It is assembled from two diagonal squares or rectangles of cloth. Today it is usually worn over a blouse and is smaller than it once was. The quechquemitl is still used in Mexico’s central and northern territories, where the Huichol, Nahua, Otomí, and other makers employ a range of weaving and embroidery skills.

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