I am very excited to announce a special series of posts based on the embroidery collection of Dr. Faegheh Shirazi, from The University of Texas at Austin. Her research is on “textiles, dress, gender identity discourse, and material culture in the Middle East; the meanings of veiling; rituals and rites of passage as they relate to material culture.” Over the years she has collected a number of examples of embroidery from around the world, and has very kindly allowed me to photograph them for my blog.
Since Dr. Shirazi is not a specialist in Mexican embroidery styles, I contacted Bob Freund at Mexican Textiles to identify this item. It is an absolutely wonderful website, describing many many embroidery styles, and he was extremely helpful. Below is an embroidered men’s shirt from Zacatepec, Oaxaca
Central Valley, Mexico. This is traditional clothing from the Mixtec/Tachuate Indians in Zacatepec, Oaxaca, Mexico (map). The Tachuate Indians are directly related to the Mixtec.
These clothes are hand embroidery on back strap loomed cotton fabric. Sometimes the weaving is done with hand-spun threads.
Below is a photo of the area around the neck hole, which is filled with rows of embroidery (the orange thread where the neck is sewn together was done by Dr. Shirazi for storage purposes).
If you look closely, these are actually rows and rows of tiny embroidered animals. Here is a closeup with my hand for scale.
Here is another photo, so you can see the animals clearly. I can definitely see scorpions and birds, and possibly turtles and dogs or horses? They’re very individual and interesting.
Here is the view from the back of the fabric:
Additional examples of these traditional costumes (including the traditional embroidered pants) and the tiny embroidered animals can be seen in the gallery for Zacatepec at Mexican Textiles. Take a look, it’s very interesting.