The Predicament of Maya Textiles in the South Highlands of Guatemala: What is Authenticity and Where can I Buy it?
Denham, Amanda Joyce
The primary objective of this thesis is to illustrate the complex socioeconomic networks of Maya women through the historical and material analysis of typical garments worn today in the South Highlands of Guatemala. Maya textiles and garments have a long history and decades of shifting political economies have produced material and symbolic changes in the dress of Maya people. Through the lens of fashion theory, this thesis discusses the pre-colonial and colonized Maya, Maya mythology, textile production histories, weaving on the back strap loom, economic change, and state violence. As the tourist economy grew during the twentieth century, the value of Maya huipiles (blouses) increased. Today, handwoven huipiles are a signifier of wealth. Much of the Maya population in Guatemala lives in poverty and are unable to afford such garments. Mass-produced, machine-made huipil replicas are emerging in marketplaces throughout the region. Is there a huipil that is more Maya?
Back strap loom; Guatemala; Maya; Weaving; Textile research; Cultural anthropology; Latin American studies
Green, Denise N.
Henderson, John S.
Fiber Science and Apparel Design
M.A., Fiber Science and Apparel Design
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis