An Iconic Garment of Mexico

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The “huipil” is a garment that has been worn by indigenous women in many parts of Mexico for thousands of years.  It is a blouse or dress, depending on its length, that is simply two rectangular pieces of fabric sown together on three sides with holes for the head and arms.  It probably originated among the Mayas in Yucatán and spread to other regions from there.  The name comes from the Aztec word “huipilli” which meant a decorated blouse or dress.  It is indeed the embroidery of these garments which makes them works of popular art.  It is said that you can identify the region and ethnic group of a woman by the decoration on her “huipil”.

There is a currently a small, special exhibit of “huipiles” at the Museum of Popular Arts.  Here are some of the garments on display, most of them coming from the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Here are some closeups that show the intricate embroidery, all done by hand, on these “huipiles”.


In my next post, we will visit another special exhibit at the Museum of Popular Arts.

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