Usila is a Chinanteca town along the Usila River. Huipils and wrap skirts are still worn here by many women. There is a strong textile tradition, many women still use back strap looms to make there beautiful huipils . Bob Freund2/24/2005
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The town of Usila is in the center is the Chinantla. Notice on the map the large area without roads. To the north is Jalapa de Diaz, a Mazatec town. From Jalapa a new road goes to Tuxtepec. During the rainy season, small boats come up the river from Lake Miguel Aleman to Usila and beyond. After a 3-hour trip on a bumpy dirt road, we came to this special place. We felt like we had arrived at a Shangri La. Later we found out that the Chinanteca people call this spot “The doorway to heaven”( Puerto del Cielo).

Josefina Mendoza is shown weaving a huipil. She also was showing me weaving techniques and the way the loom is strung. Josefina is using a design from an old Chinanteca belt that belonged to her uncle. It is common to have design samplers to copy. The old belt is seen, top row last picture, on the box at the top of the screen. The huipil is a combination of woven brocade and embroidery and it is undoubtedly one of the most unique huipils in Mexico.