In Mexico, women use a rebozo (rectangular shawl) to protect themselves from cold and hot sunlight, or to carry babies and loads.

This is a woman’s one-web cotton rebozo, woven with side selvages and trailing warp threads at both ends. The weaver has used cotton warp threads: the undyed areas are off-white; the dyed areas are black and bronze. The overall design resembles reptilian markings. The all-black finger-knotted warp fringe displays basic six-petal floral designs.

The most common ikat-achieved markings and knotted weft designs have specific names to denote specific styles. It is suggested in the notes that the ikat design may be ‘paloma de bolita’.

Tenancingo (in the Toluca Valley) is one of the main production centres in Mexico for ikat-patterned (tie-dyed) rebozos. The donors saw rebozos hanging out to dry, tethered between telegraph poles. They bought this rebozo from a market-vendor. Today, rebozos are sold on Sundays in a special open-air area near the main market. Weavers are generally men: most use the European foot-loom, but a very small number use the backstrap loom. When woven on a foot loom, the warp can be extremely long – it is severed to create each rebozo. The trailing warp is then finger-knotted.

The preferred thread is cotton, bought ready-prepared from commerical sources. The warp is ikat-dyed (as here) in long-lengths: weavers sometimes use the pavement outside their workshop to stretch it out. The finger-knotting of rebozos is done by specialist women. Sometimes they buy rebozos from the male weavers, knot them at home, then resell them (duly finished) in the market.

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Clothing and accessories
Collection Area Region
woven cotton
Common Name
Simple Name
Period Classification
Modern (1945-)
Production Town
Production County
Mexico State
Production Country
Production Year High

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shawl (rebozo)