Man's Saltillo-style sarape - ROM2015_14449_7


Man's Saltillo-style sarape

Medium:Wool weft and cotton warp tapestry
Geography: State of Zacatecas, Mexico
Date: 1860-1879
199 x 99 cm
Object number: 2015.11.4
Credit Line: This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust Fund
Not on view

Transitional variegated sarape woven in a single panel. Mechanically plied yarns and broader looms, together with synthetic dyes, were increasingly adopted by Mexican weavers after 1860. The patterning of this eye-dazzling sarape – with its central diamond motif, end stripes, and horizontal mosaic field – relies on dramatic yet subtle shifts of colour. With the dye technique known as ombré, shades of colour graduate from light to dark. 

The Mexican sarape reached its peak during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It was probably inspired by pre-Conquest cloaks and Spanish cape styles. High-status sarapes, woven in two loom widths, featured interlocking geometric motifs of enormous complexity. The finest sarapes were said to come from Saltillo in the northern state of Coahuila — a region settled after the Spanish Conquest by skilled weavers from the central-Mexican state of Tlaxcala. Examples from competing workshops in Zacatecas or Querétaro became known as Saltillo-style sarapes.

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