Huipil thumbnail 1
Huipil thumbnail 2
+3
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Huipil

1875-1890 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Warp-faced plain weave cotton; red dyed cotton
Brief Description
Woven cotton; Guatemala; 1875-1890.
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.
Dimensions
  • Length: 23in
  • Width: 44in
Gallery Label
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.
Credit line
Bequeathed by Alfred Percival Maudslay
Object history
Registered File no. 2743/1931.
Production
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.
Subject depicted
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession Number
T.23-1931

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMay 20, 1999
Record URL