Huipil embroidered by artisan Florencia Lorenzo
Amaya Blog

Huipil, threads that tell stories

by georgina valenzuela hernandez magro on Nov 07, 2022

A huipil is more than just a garment

It is surprising how everything that the craftswomen embroider has a meaning. The colors, shapes, flowers, animals and each of the details that adorn a huipil are a sign of identity and status within the community. 

But it is not only a garment full of cultural messages, the elaboration of a huipil itself is an art and it is 100% handmade. 

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For the Maya culture, art was a way to please the deities and to represent and narrate their cultural, political, economic, social and religious dimension.

Their forms of expression are full of metaphors and meanings. The squares on the huipil represent the universe and the rhombuses the four seasons.

At the same time it indicates the three existential levels: the sky, the earth and the underworld. 

Color in the Craft of the Huipil 

In turn, the cardinal points are reflected in the embroidery of the huipil through the colors. East, identified in red and representing air, heat, life, sun and war. South, represented in yellow, here reigns the fire, the dry vegetation and the ripe harvest. It is also attributed to work and effort. West, identified in black, represents death, earth and roughness. North, always in white, represented by water, the smooth, the bright, the first light of day and peace.

Flora and fauna present on the embroidery

There are also more symbolisms within a huipil, such as the flora and fauna of the region. For example butterflies are the metaphor of the sun, when the sun hides, they become beings of the underworld.

The toad is associated with rain, mythologically this animal sings to the rain, announces its arrival and is vital for the crops.

Now you can better understand that a huipil, beyond a garment, is the life of a community, of a family, of a person. The artisan through their hands and intertwining threads with the art of the backstrap loom is telling us their stories. 

I invite you to feel inspired by the beautiful huipiles that we have chosen for you in our online store

Are you thinking about giving a special gift to someone but don't know what? Let them choose and get them a Gift Card. 

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