Date of this Version
In Approaching Textiles, Varying Viewpoints: Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2000
Woven cotton mantles constituted one of the most important trade and tribute items produced during Classic Maya times. The northern Yucatan peninsula is a perfect environment for cotton cultivation and Maya women of the area have a long and illustrious textile tradition. From this same area come native depictions of weavers and their supernatural patron, the goddess IxChel. These depictions, or native codices, contain a wealth of information about how weavers ensured the protection of their goddess through offerings of cotton and cloth. Archaeological evidence from the northern Maya lowlands, especially along the Caribbean coast provides data on the temples and artifacts associated with these offerings. This paper will examine the role the Weaving Goddess played in the manufacture of cotton cloth in Yucatan as demonstrated in both archaeological and iconographic data from the Classic Maya period. It will also examine evidence for the native weaving industry in the northern lowlands and suggest a model for the gendered production of household wealth during Classic times.