Info de Zapotec de Oaxaca de la Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indigenas.

Infomation from SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics) about the Zapotec language

Info en espanol de Tehuantepec

Info en espanol de Juchitan

Note - I am proud to include a new gallery (2/06) from the John and Stafford Thomas Collection of beautiful gala dresses. the gallery includes an extensive collection of dresses as well as Zapotec orlans and huipil grandes. The orlans are attached to the bottom of the dress and the huipil gandes are worn as a bonnet.

The Zapotec are one of the most numerous ethnic groups in Mexico; they are traditionally divided into three distinct geographic areas, the Central valley, the Sierra and the Isthmus. This page represents the textiles from the Isthmus region. The day-to-day dress reflect the hot climate, the huipil is short and made from light cotton with machine embroidery or pleating, often the commercial textiles used have flower patterns. The long flowing skirt of cotton or synthetic material is either plain or flower patterned. The Gala of Fiesta huipil is one of the most beautiful in Mexico and is hand embroidered on velvet. The dress is floor length and has a fringe of lace. The huipil is also of the same material and heavily embroidered.
Culturally the Zapotec women are known for their strong character this area is one of the few in Meso America, which is considered Matriarchal.
The economic activity is similar to other indigenous areas where agriculture and fishing predominate. The women from the region travel to other parts of Mexico to trade in the local markets and are identified by their dress. Filigree jewelry is manufactured in both gold and costume varieties.
There are approximately 500,000 Zapotec in the State of Oaxaca. On the Isthmus there are two large cities Tehuantepec and Juchitan, they have an ongoing rivalry. The Juchitecos contend that during the war with France that the Tehuano's let the French pass with out resisting. There are heroic stories in Juchitan about the resistance that their women displayed. Juchitan remain a much more traditional town than Tehuantepec.
The area is on a low laying plain, which is very hot and humid. Salina Cruz is a large Pacific coast port located in the Bay of Tehuantepec. The Isthmus is the narrowest part of Mexico and has been considered as a possible location for a canal between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.
The Ismo Zapotec have contact with the Huave, Mixes and Zoque. The Huave and Mixes from the Isthmus region have adopted a similar type of dress.