Huipiles of Xelajú, nicknamed Xela (SHAY la), are traditionally made of heavier textiles due to colder, high-altitude temperatures in the region. They consist of three colors—red for the blood spilled by wars and the blood of the ancestors, yellow for corn grown in the region and rays of the sun, and purple for pain and suffering the Maya have experienced. Diamond shapes incorporated throughout the design represent stars and the universe. A ceremonial huipil, this style is worn for weddings, burials, and by women of high rank. The wearer would fold the huipil at an angle from the shoulders and toward the center of the body before tucking it into a corte skirt.
Xelajú is the original indigenous Maya K’iche’ name for the modern Guatemalan city known as Quetzaltenango, meaning “place of the quetzal,” the national bird of Guatemala. Due to the city’s position at the intersection of roads to the Pacific Slope, Mexico, and Guatemala City, it is prosperous today and busy with commerce. It was near Xelajú that the K'iche' leader, Tecún Umán, was defeated and killed by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in 1524.
*Please note: this is a pre-order. Xelajú Huipil will be delivered in 2.5 months after confirming your order.
Handmade in Quetzaltenango by María.
Measurements: 28" W, 26" H.
Material: 100% cotton.
ENGLISH: Until age 12, María worked with her mother cleaning and preparing cocoa for her chocolate business, just like her siblings. At 18, she married a hardworking farmer and started a family, and has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She started a business raising chicken and pigs and later decided to learn embroidery and tied work (a textile technique). She also has a chocolate business and runs a corn mill, which is managed by her son. “I am an enterprising woman…I do a little bit of everything because I like to get ahead,” María says.
ESPAÑOL: Hasta los 12 años, María trabajó con su madre limpiando y preparando cacao para su negocio de chocolate, al igual que sus hermanos. A los 18 años, se casó con un agricultor muy trabajador y formó una familia, y siempre ha tenido un espíritu emprendedor. Empezó un negocio de crianza de pollos y cerdos y más tarde decidió aprender a bordar y a hacer lazos (una técnica textil). También tiene un negocio de chocolates y dirige un molino de maíz, que gestiona su hijo. “Soy una mujer emprendedora... hago un poco de todo porque me gusta salir adelante”, dice María.
Handmade by Friendship Bridge
We provide skills, learning experiences, education, and technical assistance that will empower artisan entrepreneurs of Friendship Bridge to reach their potential to sell independently in new local, national, and international markets.