Monday, July 18, 2011

huipil (tunic)

Witness cultural design at it's best in the form of these lovingly handwoven and embroidered, functional works of art. Huipil are tops worn by traditional women of the Central America highlands. We have recieved a limited number of previously worn huipil. Discover these and other extraordinary one-of-a-kind textiles from the Western Hemisphere, at Common Thread!

A huipil (from the Nahuatal uipilli, meaning "blouse"`- "dress") is a form of Maya textile and tunic or blouse worn by indigenous Mayan, Zapotec, and other women in central to southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Elsalvador, and western Honduras, in the northern part of Central America. The elaborate design and patterns of a traditional woman's huipil may convey the wearer's village, marital status, and personal beliefs. They are usually made from two or three woven panels joined with decorative stitching, then doubled over and a hole cut in the center panel for the neck (unless woven in during the weaving) and decorated with stitchery. The sides are joined together with more decorative stitching, allowing openings for the arms and in the more ceremonial pieces, ribbons run down the length of the sides of the middle panel, sometimes with the ribbon forming a serrated collar ornament with two loose lengths of ribbons in the front, often in two colors. The length of the huipil varies from a simple sleeveless top extending to the waist or slightly below to a knee- or calf-length tunic forming draping scapular sleeves because of the width.