Woman's quechquemitl (closed shoulder cape). - ROM2014_14421_27


Woman's quechquemitl (closed shoulder cape).

Maker: Otomí culture
Medium:Silk tabby with warp ikat
Geography: Probably made in San Pedro Tolimán, State of Querétaro, Mexico
Date: 1875-1925
68 x 82 cm
Object number: 979.141.8
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. W.K. Newcomb
Not on view

Tie-dyed (ikat) silk was used to weave this rare quechquemitl. Although ikat was an important skill among Otomí weavers in parts of Querétaro, Hidalgo, and the Toluca Valley, it died out in the 1960s, probably because it is such a labour-intensive process. The quechquemitl (woman's closed shoulder cape) is a uniquely Mexican garment that evolved 15 centuries ago — goddesses in Aztec sculpture were often depicted wearing one. It is assembled from two diagonal squares or rectangles of cloth. Today it is usually worn over a blouse and is smaller than it once was. The quechquemitl is still used in Mexico’s central and northern territories, where the Huichol, Nahua, Otomí, and other makers employ a range of weaving and embroidery skills.

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