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Huipil

  • Place of origin:

    Patzun, Guatemala (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1875-1890 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Warp-faced plain weave cotton; red dyed cotton

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Alfred Percival Maudslay

  • Museum number:

    T.23-1931

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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This huipil (blouse) is made from two pieces of fabric joined together with red cotton and floss silk, which was originally purple but has faded to white. The edge of the neck opening has been turned under and stitched in place with a binding of pale blue silk. A quarter rosette of pale blue silk has been attached to either side of the front opening and a semi-circle of pale blue silk has been attached to the centre back. There are traces of faded purple silk embroidery over both breasts and as the ground fabric beneath this embroidery is undamaged, these are not darns or repairs. They may have been the owner's identification marks.

Physical description

1931 description: Blouse woven in cotton on a cotton warp. The pattern consists of wide and narrow red stripes. The blouse is made of two pieces of cloth doubled over the shoulder and faggot stitched in red cotton down the centre back and front. The straight sides are faggot stitched together leaving spaces for the arms. The circular neck has the remains of stitching in white and yellow silk. Each piece was woven with a selvedge all round, so that the warp is not clearly discernable.

1975 description: This is an Indian huipil from the village of Patzun. It is made from an all-cotton cloth with a double weft; the fabric is woven on a backstrap loom and therefore both pieces have 4 selvedges. The seams are typically embroidered together - embroidered seams are known as randas - in red cotton and some floss silk, which was purple and has faded to white. There is a silk ribbon folded around the edge of the neck, now worn away at the fold - also two silk ribbons arranged in half circles are attached at the centre back and front of the neck. The one on the front has been cut in half. These ribbons are faded to white but are still blue in the folds. There are the remains of embroidery worked with floss silk (mauve, purple, yellow and white) on the ribbons and also remains of two feather-like motifs on either side of the front semi-circle of silk. Also, on either side of the front, are the remains of two small roughly embroidered motifs - very little remains in the right hand side.

Technical Details:
Warp: 50 threads per inch (i) red cotton, sometimes Z3Z and sometimes Z2Z plus one thread of Z-spun, unplied cotton used together as parallel threads; (ii) white cotton, Z-spun, unplied paired threads.
Weft: 16 threads per inch. White cotton, Z-spun, unplied paired threads.
Front Edge: the first shed contains 4 weft threads.
Back Edge: the last shed contains 4 weft threads.
Randa: centre seams worked with red cotton to give the effect of blanket stitch. Left side seam: faded purple silk giving the effect of blanket stitch. Right side seam: a block of red cotton and two blocks of faded purple silk giving the effect of blanket stitch.
The huipil has been cut with a round neck and front slit. The edge of the neck has been turned under and stitched. A pale blue silk ribbon has been sewn around the neck opening. This has been decorated with three rows of embroidery in split stitch using yellow, blue and red silk (faded except for the yellow). A quarter rosette of faded pale blue silk is on either side of the front opening; this has laso been decorated with silk stitching. There is half a faded blue silk rosette at the centre back, also decorated with lines of split stitch in red, yellow and purple silk. There are traces of faded purple(?) silk on either breast.

Red cotton is dyed with Alizarin, patented in Britain and Germany in 1871.

Place of Origin

Patzun, Guatemala (probably, made)

Date

1875-1890 (made)

Artist/maker

unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Warp-faced plain weave cotton; red dyed cotton

Dimensions

Length: 23 in, Width: 44 in

Object history note

Registered File no. 2743/1931.

Descriptive line

Woven cotton; Guatemala; 1875-1890.

Exhibition History

A Glimpse of Guatemala: The Maudslay Collection of 19th century Guatemalan Textiles (Victoria and Albert Museum 17/02/1996-18/08/1996)

Labels and date

Huipil, made from two pieces joined together with red cotton and floss silk, which was originally purple but has faded to white.
Paired theads of Z-spun, unplied white cotton have been used with Z3Z red cotton to form a striped warp. The central seam was worked with red cotton; the left side-seam with (faded) purple silk and the right side-seam with a combination of red cotton and (faded) purple silk.
The huipil has been cut with a round neck and front slit. The edge of the neck has been turned under and stitched in palce with a binding of pale blue silk. This has been decorated with three rows of embroidery in split stitch using yellow, blue and red silk (now faded exceptfor the yellow). A quarter rosette of (faded) pale blue silk has been attached to either side of the front opening and has been decorated with silk stitiching. A semi-circle of (faded) pale blue silk has been attached to the centre back and decorated with lines of split stitch in red, yellow and purple silk. There are traces of faded purple (?) silk embroidery on either breast; as the ground fabric beneath the embroidery is undamaged, these are not darns or repairs. They may have been the owner's identification marks.

Production Note

This huipil is typical for its village and similar pieces are illustrated in J Wood's 'Indian Costume of Guatemala' (1966, p. 108, plate 39) and L M O'Neale's 'Textiles of Highland Guatemala' (1945, figs. 29a & b and 93c and p. 289).
Ann P Rowe (Curator of Western Hemisphere Textiles, Textile Museum, Washignton DC: personal communication 1997) said that ceremonial huipils in Patzun are very similar in design to ordinary huipils: the diffeence has never been carefully defined based on field investigations. See Schevill's 'Maya Textiles of Guatemala', (nd) p.74 fig.53.

Materials

Cotton (textile); Silk thread

Techniques

Weaving; Embroidered; Sewing

Subjects depicted

Stripes

Categories

Textiles; Clothing

Collection code

T&F

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Qr_O11106
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