The Fabric of Mayan Life

An Exhibit of Textiles

The Mayan peoples of Mexico and Central America form one of the largest indigenous populations in the Americas. With over 4 million people who identify themselves as Mayan, this is an extremely diverse group. Some Mayans live in the steamy jungles of the Yucatan peninsula, others in the rugged highlands of Guatemala. Some Mayans speak Kaqchikel; others speak Tzotzil, Kekchi, Ixil, or Chol. Though Mayan culture is often thought of in terms of its pre-Hispanic achievements, Mayan cultural traditions persist to this day. One area in which Mayan culture is alive and well is its textile tradition. The Mayan people are well-known for the beauty, quality, and sophistication of their textiles. This reputation persists because of, not in spite of, the rather simple tools used by Mayan men and women to produce these textiles. The Pitzer Collection of Mayan textiles at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History demonstrates the diversity and beauty of this artistic, though inherently functional, tradition.

© 2002, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History
Last updated July 2002
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