The Maya and the Huipil
Nowadays, Maya people inhabit the southeastern half of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Northern Honduras. They speak 28 dialects. Just as language and social traditions distinguish one group from another, so do their garments and the designs that ornate them.The clothing that contemporary Maya people wear, as well as a variety of daily use or ceremonial textiles, are a material expression of a collective language. Indigenous cultural heritage is the legacy of tangible physical artifacts and intangible aspects of a group or society. Especially for women, clothing is the main medium, silent but eloquent, through which the local ethnic identity is transmitted from past generations in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
Mayan textiles stand out with their vivid colors in every shade dreamable and covered in geometric and floral patterns.
These patterns are the visual codes of a symbolic system that communicates social and political information as well as spiritual beliefs.
They speak on a variety of levels, and the ability to decipher their message depends on the degree of one's literacy, which is often linked to the person's extent of cultural initiation.
Some messages are meant only for the members of the immediate community and sometimes only for the weaver herself, whose textiles are an essential outlet of personal creativity.