A Great Lakes Colleges Association initiative supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Unravelling Traditions of Mayan Textiles in Chiapas, Mexico

About the Project


San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico is an intertwining of international and local culture. And in this cultural fusion, I set out to explore the role of textiles for weavers while looking from my own lens as an outsider. My intention as a researcher is to explore the ways in which the discussion of textiles in Chiapas by weavers may differ from that presented by professionals in the museum/cultural preservation field. The story presented by such institutions is dominant for foreign visitors to the city. I hope to bring to light the voice of weavers as an act of solidarity with the weavers in pursuit of economic development. Chiapas is one of the poorest states in Mexico, and no work can neglect this reality.

For my research I hope to bring out the indigenous voice of weavers into an official art space. I have been working for a weaving co-operative in the community of Zinacantan as well as for the Centro del Textiles del Mundo Maya. Lastly, I did a short homestay with the founder of another weaving cooperative in Chenalho. Through these spaces, I noticed that there may be a divide in the way weavers think of their work compared to the cultural heritage rhetoric used by museum professionals. My project intends to explore this divide in order to better understand weavers’ perspectives and autonomy over their art.

Written by

Addison Nace is a recent Antioch College graduate with a Spanish language focus. After doing 6 months of research, she wrote her senior thesis about weaving and economic justice in Chiapas, Mexico. Her academic interests include material culture, globalization, economic anthropology, folk art, and textiles.

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