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Maya Threads: A Woven History of Chiapas

Maya Threads: A Woven History of Chiapas

Walter F. Morris Jr. , Carol Karasik & Janet Schwartz

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Winner of: IBPA 2016 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award, Multicultural
Through the pages of this incredibly-researched history and photo gallery, the world of the Maya lives on through the lens of its culture and costume, still seen today in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. In a region battered by centuries of invasions, subjugations, civil wars, and severe economic hardship, the Maya continue to celebrate and sustain their heritage in extraordinary traditional dress and festivals that are both riotous and sacred. Their ever-evolving, colorful, beautifully-handcrafted dress features exquisite gauze fabrics that trace their origins from the 9th century AD to a present-day lowland village; festival wear that blends Roman Catholicism and paganism, reverence and mockery; gloriously brocaded and embroidered wardrobes that tie communities together; and embroidery techniques that reflect displacements and migrations—in other words, fabrics that trace the history and evolution of a people. Two Maya experts and a photographer painstakingly record the remnants of influence from the Aztecs, Spanish conquistadors, Catholic missionaries, and the unseen gods and spirits that guide Maya culture today.

Size: 9″ x 11″ | 245 color photos & 16 b/w illustrations & 6 maps | 224 pp
ISBN13: 9780983886068 | Binding: softcover

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Walter F. Morris, Jr. became a deep expert in the textiles and culture of the Highlands after traveling to Chiapas as a tourist in 1972. His fluency in Tzotzil and his extensive time in Maya villages have given him unique insights into the history and symbolism of Maya textiles. He is a founder of Sna Jolobil, a weaving collective based in San Cristóbal, which both supports weavers and fosters excellence in native textile arts. He received a MacArthur Award in 1983 for his work in textile symbology in Chiapas. Carol Karasik is a writer and editor who has been studying ancient astronomical alignments at Palenque. She is the author of The Drum Wars: A Modern Maya Story and The Turquoise Trail. Janet Schwartz is a native New Yorker who came to Chiapas in 1978 on a Fulbright Scholarship to study the Bonampak murals. She has gone on to become a clothing designer, a tour guide, and ultimately a journalist/photographer with thousands of bylines to her credit. They all live in San Cristóbal, Chiapas (Mexico).