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Friday, December 21, 2012

Doomsday Fashion - Mayan Costume and Textiles

guatemalan girls
Guatemala costume
Most of the world has misinterpreted the ancient Mayan calendar to read that December 21, 2012 was the end of the world.  If you are reading this, this clearly did not happen.  Where are the Mayans, and what do they wear?

I took a trip to Guatemala in college.  My family has visited the country several times since then.  We fell in love with the richly woven textiles and bright colors of the native people.  My father took the photos in this post.  He was actually able to find the little girl in the top photo again several years later in the same town square.

The classic women's garment for Mayans is the Huipil, a two-paneled blouse. They are often heavily embroidered or with brightly colored patterns woven in.  This blouse can be the a top or an over garment, often worn with a skirt. The skirt is also highly patterned. 

For men, a typical outfit would consist of a shirt, pants and sash.  Collars might be embellished with hand-woven patterns or embroidery.  A wool tunic might act as outerwear.

Accessories? Shoulder bags are the handbag of choice for both men and women, often rectangular in shape. Sashes, headwraps, shawls, etc. are called Tzutes, an all-purpose utility cloth.

Did you learn something today?  I don't know about you, but the only people who were actually hoping today was their last was probably Jon Cusack who made the horrible 2012 movie.  Don't worry Jon, you'll still always be the cutie from Say Anything to me.

Photos by David TW Leung

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