Cotton Back Strap Loom Rebozo

Cotton Back Strap Loom Rebozo


This exquisite rebozo was woven using a backstrap loom in the village of Ahuiran.  The soft fabric and superb fringe are what make this piece of high value.   



    The Rebozo is an article of protection, and as an intrinsic part of national female identity in Mexico, can double in price prior to Mexican Independence Day each year.  As rebozos are used to carry babies, produce, to ward off the sun, protect from the chilly mountain breezes, show respect to God in church, then ultimately used as a shroud in death, they are valued as part of one's identity in a life-sense. 

    Rebozos are passed down through families, and are worn for different occasions.  Cotton rebozos are worn for daily tasks, while wool rebozos are reserved for winter.  Silk rebozos are worn on special occasions, with some being so fine, they can slip through a wedding band.

    The origin of the rebozo is unknown, though anthropologist suspect a fusion of cultural traditions during the early Colonial period is what birthed the rebozo.  The word hails from a Spanish verb "to cover or envelope oneself," but has various names in indigenous languages.  Known to the Maya as a Chala, or in Nahuatl as ciua nequealtlapacholoni, rebozos mimic the tilma, which was worn by the Mexica peoples of central Mexico, and the ayate, which was an abrasive cloth of maguey used for carrying goods.  

    Most rebozos are made using Ikat application, which is a process that involves resist technique for dying the threads prior to the weaving process.  While Ikat can refer to the technique, and the cloth itself, these rebozos shouldn't be confused with those that are made using resist technique.  These rebozos are made from two colours of thread, with the weft crossing the warp.  The warp threads are what ultimately become the hand-knotted fringe of the ends, while the weft is the secondary colour.  The designs create a reversible pattern, with the weft creating a positive design, and the warp as a negative pattern on the opposite side.