Florida Museum of Natural History
Maya home

naviagtion Mayan People Sacred Duty History of Maya Dress The Huipil Renaissance of Weaving Textile Symbols Process of Weaving Women's Cooperatives

Exhibit Credits

Images of the Maya


The Renaissance of Weaving

Revival of brocade weaving began with a sacred dream.

Dressed in layers of decorated huipíles, Santa Maria is carried in a procession

To the Maya, dreams are of great importance because they transmit messages from the spirit world. The patron saint of a community, Santa Maria Magdalenas, appeared to a woman and asked her to make a new huipíl. The woman went to study the Saint's old huipíles in the church, because traditional brocade weaving techniques had been lost entirely. The woman copied the motifs and went on to teach her relatives. Designs grew more complex with each generation, and by the middle of this century brocade was once again a Maya art form.

Carnival in Amatenango

Each woven garment portrays the celebration of daily and seasonal cycles, the rain that replenishes the earth, and the gods, saints and ancestors that nourish the spirit.

The designs of each garment are sacred because they are revealed in weavers' dreams by the saints.

When a young woman first begins to weave, she prays to the saints for the skill and grace to weave, and then learns the techniques from her mother.

back next