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Tzute

  • Place of origin:

    Guatemala (made)

  • Date:

    1875-1890 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Warp-faced plain weave cotton; brown cotton is undyed Gossypium Mexicanum, blue cotton is dyed with indigo, and red cotton is dyed with Alizarin

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Alfred Percival Maudslay

  • Museum number:

    T.24-1931

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Tzutes are used for many purposes: if two corners are tied in front of the body, the rest of the cloth forms a sling across the back which can be used for carrying small children. It could be used as a shawl, or worn folded on the head or as a covering for baskets of food in the market or on baskets being carried. This tzute is made from two panels oversewn with white and blue cotton. A decorative seam such as this is known as a randa. A natural, undyed brown cotton has been included in the warp; this is known as Cuyuscate or Ixcaco (Gossypium Mexicanum). It produces shorter fibres than the more common white cotton and consequently is more difficult to spin, more expensive and more highly prized by weavers.
The fabric is stained and there are ring marks from cups or dishes which suggest that Mr and Mrs Maudslay used this as a table cover.

Physical description

This tzute is very similiar to T.27-1931 and is probably from the same village. It is made from two pieces joined together by an embroidered seam (known as a randa). There is a selvedge along all four sides of each piece. The pattern consists of wide and narrow stripes of blue, red, yellow, brown and white.

Technical Details:
Warp: 61 threads per inch. (i) white cotton; Z-spun, paired threads; (ii) blue cotton; Z2S lightly plied and now separated; (iii) red cotton; Z2Z; (iv) yellow cotton; Z-spun, paired and sometimes three threads used together, but it might be loosely plied Z3S; (v) brown cotton; Z-spun, usually paired threads.
Weft: 15 threads per inch. White cotton; Z-spun, usually paired threads. There is a loosely woven band about 4.5 inches deep which includes eccentric wefts.
Lower Edge (where the Museum Number is): left hand panel: first three sheds each contain 4 weft threads. Right hand panel: first two sheds each contain 4 weft threads.
Upper Edge: both panels: last two sheds each contain 3 weft threads.

Red cotten dyed with Alizarin, patented in London and Germany in 1871.

Place of Origin

Guatemala (made)

Date

1875-1890 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Warp-faced plain weave cotton; brown cotton is undyed Gossypium Mexicanum, blue cotton is dyed with indigo, and red cotton is dyed with Alizarin

Dimensions

Length: 146 cm maximum, Length: 132 cm minimum, Width: 125 cm

Object history note

Registered File no. 2743/1931.

Descriptive line

Woven cotton; Guatemala; 1875-1890

Labels and date

TZUTE, made from two pieces joined with white and blue cotton. Paired threads of Z-spun, unplied white, blue, yellow and brown cotton have been used in the warp, together with plied red cotton (Z2Z).
The fabric is stained and there are ring marks from cups or dishes which suggest that Mr and Mrs Maudslay used this as a table cover. []

Production Note

Dr Rosario de Polanco, Directora Technica of the Museo Ixchel de Traje Indigena, Guatemala City suggested (personal communication 1989) that this came from a village in the Department of Solola.
Krystyna Deuss of the Guatemalan Indian Centre in London suggested (personal communication 1995) that this tzute was made in one of the villages in the municipality of Solola.

Materials

Cotton (textile)

Techniques

Weaving; Sewing

Subjects depicted

Stripes

Categories

Textiles

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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