Woman's huipil (bodice) - ROM2015_14490_19


Woman's huipil (bodice)

Maker: Zapotec Tehuana culture
Medium:Rayon tabby with cotton machine embroidery
Geography: Juchitán de Zaragoza, State of Oaxaca, Mexico
Date: c. 2000
56 x 67 cm
Object number: 2014.40.1.1
Credit Line: Gift of the Textile Endowment Fund Committee
Not on view
DescriptionZapotec women on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec are known as Tehuanas. Their elaborate and flamboyant fashions became a symbol of national pride after 1920, when post-revolutionary leaders rejected European values and promoted ethnic diversity. Tehuanas wear a short huipil (tunic) and matching enagua (skirt), both embroidered with floral or geometric designs, and many gold ornaments. Ceremonial wear features a headdress of starched lace, known locally as a huipil grande. During the 1930s and 1940s, artist Frida Kahlo and other cultural figures adopted Tehuana dress to proclaim their allegiance to Mexican values and popular traditions. Tehuana gala ensembles show evolving styles over 60 years on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Factory-made lace has largely replaced hand-made lace for the starched holán (lace flounce). The origins of the huipil grande (headdress) are uncertain. It has vestigial sleeves, glued fast by starch and never used, and is worn in two ways.
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