Woman's posahuanco (wrap-around skirt) - ROM2015_14449_6


Woman's posahuanco (wrap-around skirt)

Maker: Mixtec culture
Medium:Cotton and silk twill
Geography: Pinotepa Region, State of Oaxaca, Mexico
Date: 1900-1950
62500 x 121 cm
Object number: 961.156.3
Credit Line: No credit line
Not on view

Made from three loom-widths. Dyeing with natural dyes is a laborious process. Three traditional dyes were used for this wrap-around skirt, making it extremely valuable. Cochineal-dyed silk (known as hiladillo) and indigo-dyed cotton create the pink and blue warp (vertical) stripes. Lilac was achieved with the secretion of a rare mollusk (caracol) found along isolated stretches of the Pacific coast. Each time it is worn, this type of skirt is arranged in folds and held in place by a waist sash.

Traditional garments are simple to construct, and require little or no tailoring – their visual interest lies with the fibres, the depth and range of colour, and the design motifs. Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) has been cultivated in Mexico for over 5000 years. After cotton, makers of indigenous clothing most frequently use wool. Introduced into Mexico after the Conquest, it is especially popular in cold and mountainous regions. Silk is rare and greatly prized. After the Conquest, the Spanish government sent mulberry trees and silkworm (Bombyx mori) eggs to Mexico, to encourage local sericulture (silk industry). Although most silk is imported today, small-scale production still occurs in a few communities.

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