Zinacantan, Chiapas a Tzotzil village.
Web gallery by Bob Freund
with particiaption of Karen Elwell and Tom Aleto , Narratives by Karen Elwell 9/2005
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Chps Zina Tom 2
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Chps Zina Tom 5
When we first visited Zinacantan in January 1993, the major color of the capes, huipiles, and ponchos was pink. Embroidery on the capes and ponchos was small and confined to the margins. An amazing transformation has occurred since then. Embroidery on the huipiles is now often black and purple. The capes and ponchos are also dark and covered all over with dense machine embroidery. Blue and purple colors predominate. Women’s skirts now often have a broad horizontal band of machine embroidery that matches the embroidery on their capes. Wealthier men and women commission new outfits for the two major town fiestas which occur in January and August. Used clothing which is outdated is sold to tourists or shops in San Cristobal.

Many tourists visit Zinacantan and large stalls line the entrance to town and the margins of the church of San Lorenzo. The stalls sell clothing, as well as decorative textiles like tablecloths and place mats. The fabric for these textiles is backstrap woven, then hand embroidered with floral or animal designs. Local women running the stalls are very happy to demonstrate weaving and embroidery techniques to visitors. Many vendors will be happy to show visitors the famous Aztec style feathered wedding huipil if asked and will even dress-up female visitors in the huipil. Continued on the next page -