At Mayan Rebirth, the goal is in assisting rural development and integration of extremely poor communities into markets that have had an impact at the local, national and international levels. Through this we are working with local talented artisans, of who, hand-made all the packaging for our collection.
To pay homage to Mother Earth, our designs evolve around the beauty of nature. Nature signifies life, which is very much alive within our concept. We carry on our theme of nature that you will notice on our packaging as well. The textiles are woven , inspired by the rich culture and historical events, such as wild flowers and animals from the rain forest located in Guatemala, made by wonderful women from rural areas that are able to imprint their products with hundreds of years of artisan techniques.
In woven textiles, the first step is preparing fiber, which can come from plants, such as cotton or maguey, or animals, such as wool from sheep. The loose fibers are spun into threads by hand, with spindles, a long stick-like device for holding the thread, and whorls, a weight held on the spindle to increase its motion.
In the pre-Columbian era, Mayan women exclusively wove with backstrap looms, that use sticks and straps worn around one’s waist to create tension. After European contact, treadle looms were introduced, although backstrap looms continue to be popular. Bone picks were used before contact and were unique in that they had different designs for most families and were usually passed on from generation to generation with the elite having the most expensive and beautiful.
Ancient Maya women had two natural types of cotton to work with, one white and the other light brown, both of which were commonly dyed. The preparation of cotton for spinning was very burdensome, as it had to be washed and picked clean of seeds.
Elite women were also given the opportunity to work with the most expensive feathers and pearl beads. However, women of the elite not only had to prepare the best clothing for their families, but they also had to be talented in weaving tapestry, brocade, embroidery, and tie-dyeing for tribute to other families and rulers. Weavers had three different natural dyes to work with. Women also worked with maguey. Maguey was of major value as a cordage material used for horse gear, nets, hammocks and bags.
In the Maya civilization, a man’s typical dress was a cotton breechcloth wrapped around his waist and sometimes a sleeveless shirt, either white or dyed in colours. A woman typically wore a traje, which combined a huipil and a corte, a woven wraparound skirt that reached her ankles. The traje was held together with a faja or sash worn at the waist. Both women and men wore sandals.
When the weather was temperate, Mayan clothing was needed less as protection from the elements and more for personal adornment. Maya clerics and other dignitaries wore elaborate outfits with jewellery.
Maya farmers wore minimal clothing. Men wore plain loincloths or a band of cloth winded around their waists. Some wore moccasins made of deerhide. Women possessed two items of clothing: a length of ornamented material with holes made for the arms and head, known as a kub. Both genders wore a heavier rectangle of cloth, as a manta, that functioned as an overwrap on cool days, and as blanket at night. The manta also served as a blind across the door.
The most prevalent and influential aspect of women’s clothing in ancient times is the huipil, which is still prominent in Guatemalan and Mexican culture today. The huipil is a loose rectangular garment with a hole in the middle for the head made from lightweight sheer cotton. The huipil is usually white with colorful cross-stripping and zigzag designs woven into the cloth using the brocade technique still commonly used today.
The huipil could be worn loose or tucked into a skirt; this depends on the varying lengths of the huipil. Huipils were important displaying one’s religion and tribal affiliation. Different communities tended to have different designs, colors, lengths as well as particular huipils for ceremonial purposes. It was uncommon and often disgraceful to wear a huipil design from another community within one’s village; although, it was a sign of respect to wear a community’s huipil when visiting another village.
Although, women were not just limited to their community’s design. Instead the design offered an outline for what women were required to have and within the community design women were allowed creativity to make theirs different from others often to express praise to different kiuggkes animals around the collar.