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Weaving ritual and the production of commemorative cloth in Highland Guatemala

Dimensions of Ritual Economy

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1485-0, eISBN: 978-1-84950-546-8

Publication date: 6 May 2008


In Mesoamerica, the processes of making and using hand-woven cloth are well known ritual and mundane practices often regarded as markers of primordial identity and clear indications of deep historical continuities with the pre-Columbian past. This chapter analyzes a set of commemorative wall hangings from Tecpán, Guatemala from the perspective of ritual economy to argue that ritual weaving persists in contemporary Mesoamerica within global economic contexts. The Tecpán textiles contain multiple significations that, in addition to indicating cultural continuities and community identity, symbolically link hamlets to the municipality, represent development projects completed, and symbolize the connections these hamlets have to the broader global economy. This analysis of weaving and cloth is contextualized within the cultural and economic conditions of Tecpán in order to discuss the interrelationship between the ritual and the mundane, as well as what hand-woven cloth means to contemporary Maya weavers.


Little, W.E. (2008), "Weaving ritual and the production of commemorative cloth in Highland Guatemala", Christian Wells, E. and McAnany, P.A. (Ed.) Dimensions of Ritual Economy (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 121-148.



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