Woman's quechquemitl (closed shoulder cape) - ROM2014_14421_21


Woman's quechquemitl (closed shoulder cape)

Maker: Nahua culture
Medium:Cotton crochet
Geography: Sierra norte de Puebla (Puebla highlands), Mexico
Date: 1959
42 x 51 cm
Object number: 986.206.26
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 crocheted quechquemitl imitates the complex traditional gauze-woven styles that were used until recently in some Nahua villages in the highlands of Puebla. Nahua women in Xolotla often chose to crochet rather than weave, because it was simpler and faster. Crochet is a European technique, widely used in Mexico to edge servilletas and other domestic items.


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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