Delhi gets a glimpse of Mexican textiles

Delhi gets a glimpse of Mexican textiles

Cultural exchange

Delhi gets a glimpse of Mexican textiles

Among numerous cultural similarities that India and Mexico share, textiles is one, says Melba Pría, Ambassador of Mexico to India. Mexico has a rich history of textiles but the southern state Chiapas, because of its diverse ethnic groups living in over 122 villages, is one of its most colourful and textiles-rich destination.

These groups make clothes according to tradition, techniques and fashion. An exhibition titled ‘Textiles of Chiapas’ is currently on display at the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, which showcases a vast variety of these antique and rich textiles from Chiapas.

Including both occasional and daily wear, the exhibition showcases intricate patterns and embroideries used in Mexican textiles. In a candid chat with Metrolife, Pria elaborates on the cultural relevance of textiles in Mexico and similarities India and Mexico share in textiles.

Excerpts:

How did you ideate this exhibition?

This is the first exhibition of textiles that we are bringing to this museum. Mexico and India have so many things in common and one of them is textiles and to bring an exhibition of the same is very important. We have textiles everywhere in Mexico. There is no better place for Mexican textiles than in India, of the many things that we share, this is an important industry.

Why have you included textiles only from Chiapas?

Chiapas is one of the most colourful states in Mexico and rich in textiles. It is the way they do it, the techniques they use and the colours they incorporate that makes it so vibrant. One of the interesting aspects of Chiapas is that it has varied climates. So there will be very strong and heavy embroidery done in wool and others will be very light and cool, because of being closer to the coast.

What are the similarities between Indian and Mexican textiles?

We are similar in the way that we make them, in the way that we use the looms and the way we use some of the stitches. Also, surprisingly, some of the patterns that we use are similar. For instance, the use of flowers and geometrical figures is common in both. This is also fascinating because when you see and Indian textile, you see yourself reflected into it and vice versa.

How important are textiles to Mexican culture?

We could not understand culture without textiles. It is very important. In most parts of the country, the indigenous women still use their textiles and wear them. Some indigenous communities will only wear traditional textiles. Women in Mexico are very attached to this tradition.

How do textile help in employment generation in Mexico?

One is through apparels. Others are the traditionally made crafts. In areas where there is a tradition of textiles, every woman of that specific area will surely be engaged in some sort of craft or textile. These women learn from their mothers, grandmothers and they pass it to the next generation. Men, however, don’t do it very elaborately.

What is the purpose of the exhibition?

We are just trying to portray and show the richness of these textiles and the tradition in the state of Chiapas, which is the state where the Mayan culture, developed by pre-Columbian period flourished . It is a cultural exchange that we are trying to make. The exhibition is on display at the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, till October 13. 

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