Weaving and Markets

A Swatch of M.A.R.I. History

This picture of a young girl depicts the traditional practice of weaving at a backstrap loom. This type of loom is normally composed of 5 sticks. One end is fastened to a pole or tree while the weaver creates the needed tension by utilizing a belt or back strap that is worn around the waist. The traje is very durable, and a woman may wear it for many years, weaving a new one to recognize major life transitions or in response to household prosperity.

Girl Weaving
Girl Weaving, Guatemala

(left) Man’s Faja, San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango
(right) Pillow Cover, San Andrés Itzapa, Chimaltenango

(left) Church and Market, Chiantla, Huehuetenango
(right) Blankets at Market, San Francisco El Alto, Totonicapán

Textiles are important in both the domestic and commercial spheres. Markets are found in virtually every city and large town in Mesoamerica and play a vital role in the everyday affairs of indigenous populations. In Guatemala, people travel from surrounding areas to places like Chichicastenango and Guatemala City to sell vegetables, meat, fabric, clothing, and a myriad of other products. The traditional marketplace is colorful, crowded, and lively, and brings together people from many different communities.