Mexico, State of Mexico
Otomí, ca. 1946
From celebrities to soccer moms, ponchos are ubiquitous this fall. In
some cultures, however, this style of clothing has been trendy for millennia.
This poncho-like garment, called a quechquemitl, is from Mexico
and has been worn by indigenous Mexican women for around two thousand
years. Before the Spanish arrived in 1521, noble women and priests wore
this type of garment during ceremonies, and goddesses were often depicted
wearing them in statues and paintings. Today, many ordinary indigenous
women in northern and central Mexico wear quechquemitl for warmth
and decoration each day.
Like most quechquemitl, this one is composed of two rectangles
of handwoven cloth stitched together to attach the end of each rectangle
to the side of the other. This ingenious design forms a square garment
that can be slipped over the head. Here, the points of the square hang
in front and back, but other quechquemitl are intended to be worn
with the points hanging to the sides, over the shoulders, instead.
wool and cotton;
plain weave with attached fringe
60 cm x 60 cm
The Textile Museum 1980.8.88
Gift of Isabel T. Kelly
© 2003 THE TEXTILE MUSEUM
Each month we will highlight a different textile from
the Museum's collection.