Mayan Culture Vultures

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Tue 2 Aug 2011 17:16
We took a tour of the Museo Casa del Tejido in Antigua run entirely by indigenous people.  Those of us not too familiar with Mayan culture felt we could learn a few things - this trip to Antigua wasn't only to eat, drink and be merry although there were more restaurants and bars in the town than museums.  Naturally we felt justified in spending a proportionate amount of time in each type of establishment.
This turned out to be an interesting couple of hours as we were guided by a knowledgeable member of staff through various sections depicting Mayan culture, dress and food. There was a young Guatemalan lady sat on the floor weaving with a back-strap loom which was fascinating to learn about.  When asked how long this piece of cloth would take to make the reply came back in Spanish about one month. Wow - that's a long time and a lot of work for such a small piece. 
                              Our back strap weaver                                                                                                                                  Mayan dress  - note earthenware pots for heads. 
Every region makes a different colour and pattern of cloth. The ladies also wear a belt with their skirty bit, a thin one for unmarried and a wider belt for married. Quite a good idea we think. Later in the tour, having looked at a larger timber frame loom which must have dramatically cut the time required to make the garments one of our party offered to be a guinea pig and be dressed in typical Mayan costume, whilst nearby a demonstration of tortilla making was underway, assisted by our lady previously seen in the backstrap loom at the start of the tour.
A 'back-ache' loom which must have cut the weaving time by many days and Faye trying on her typical Mayan outfit                                     Tortillas made in a large flat heated pan (this pic was taken in the market place) 
The end of the tour magically turned out to be in the shopping section where there were hundreds, if not thousands of beautifully made cloths of different weaves. We all bought something as a souvenir to take back to our boats.
                                                                                                                    Why the long face? Just spent money!