Casa de Tejido Antiguo (Clothing Museum)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by lcampbell on March 28, 2005

Not too far from the artisan market is the Casa de Tijido Antiguo. This was a museum displaying the traditional and typical clothing of the Mayan people from many parts of Guatemala.

Traditional clothing for women includes a handwoven huipil (blouse), a corte (skirt) made of a piece of cloth 7-10 yards long and wrapped around the body, a tocoyal (head-covering, often very elaborate), and a faja (sash) which is placed around the waste in folds, so as to make pockets. Women usually carry a tzut, or sort of all-purpose cloth, which I have seen used as a pad for the head (when carrying loads on top of their heads) or as a baby sling.

Men wear calzones (trousers) and leather sandles, as well as a woven shirt and sometimes a straw hat.

Each community of Mayan people is said to have their own special weave that is used to identify them. There were perhaps 500 different clothings (and 22 different Mayan languages).

The museum had women doing a weaving demonstration, using a backstrap loom. There was also a couple pedal/foot looms, which I was surprised to learn were traditionally operated by men.

I also learned that it can take as long as 7 months to make one of the intricate hand-woven huipiles.

This is a great place to learn about weaving before heading to the market to make purchases. Perhaps the guide or weaver can point out what to look for in a high quality weaving, or for signs of a lower quality product. There are also some books, postcards, and other souvenirs. I found this to be a nice museum, not too expensive, with a great guide.

Entrance fee = Q5, or US$0.50

Museo Casa del Tejido Antiguo (Clothing Museum)
1a. Calle Poniente # 51
Antigua, Guatemala

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