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Mayan Weaving: The Thread of History

It’s hard to know the exact timeline of weaving because textiles are so susceptible to being destroyed by the elements, but historians estimate that the Mayan people began using the weaving3back strap loom many centuries ago. We know this because rulers, priests, and deities of the Maya Universe are draped in elaborate woven garments depicted on painted vases, in murals, and on the monumental stone reliefs discovered in Maya archaeological ruins.

According to legend, the Mother Moon, goddess Ix Chel, taught the first woman how to weave at the beginning of time. Since then, Maya mothers have taught their daughters the art of the loom each generation uninterruptedly for three thousand years. In ancient times, weavers made offerings to Ix Chel before beginning each new textile. Continue reading

By HugoMon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons


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The Sacred Grain

maize1The culture that brought us chocolate and guacamole is also the basis of Guatemalan cuisine. Mayan foodways reign supreme in Guatemala in traditional foods such as corn, beans, and chilis, although there is also a clear European influence. Rice, for example, now a staple of Guatemalan meals, was introduced by the Spanish during their rule which began in the 1500s. Before that, maize was the main crop, and it is still seen at almost every meal in the form of the ever present corn tortilla. Mayans first cultivated corn around 2500 BC; in fact, it was corn that helped form the great civilization when the formerly nomadic people began to settle in order to tend their crops. Continue reading