Man's Saltillo-type sarape - ROM2014_14419_5


Man's Saltillo-type sarape

Medium:Tapestry with cotton warp and wool weft
Geography: Mexico
Date: 1800-1860
156 x 234 cm
Object number: 2002.19.37
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. W. Kent Newcomb. Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestée par la Commission canadienne d'examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l'exportation et l'importation de biens culturels.
Not on view

Trimmed with a knotted warp fringe and featuring a complex central diamond design, this splendid Saltillo-style sarape was woven with 19 warps (vertical threads) and 80 wefts (horizontal threads) per inch. Analysis confirms that only natural dyes were used.

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.

The best sarapes of the Classic Period (1750-1860), tapestry-woven on treadle-looms, often featured a vertical mosaic field of zigzag stripes with a concentric serrated diamond at the centre. Less usual, but also popular after 1800, was a central baroque or scalloped medallion. Most sarapes were made from two matched panels. A man could drape his sarape over his shoulders like a cloak, or, if the central seam was left open, he could wear his sarape or jorongo like a Peruvian poncho.

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