Date of this Version
Crosscurrents: Land, Labor, and the Port. Textile Society of America's 15th Biennial Symposium. Savannah. GA. October 19-23. 2016.
The history of rebozos and jaspe (ikat) in Mexico still presents many enigmas and fertile field for research. Public and private collections in Mexican and foreign museums preserve a variety of rebozos from the mid-18th through the 20th centuries. However, it has been complicated to correlate these extant pieces with exact places of production and dates. Other sources such as written accounts and images focus mostly on their social uses, sometimes places of production or sale are merely mentioned yet techniques and designs are the information least dealt with. Virginia Davis mentions this problem while analyzing the Frederick Church collection at the Olana Estate in the following terms, “the lack of a gamut of authenticated examples for each makes attribution difficult.2 With the purpose of providing new clues for the historiography of the rebozo de jaspe (ikat) and other variants, and contribute to deciphering a part of the puzzle, this essay is based on a fragment of a chart published in the monthly trade journal El Correo del Comercio in October 1871,3 under the title Efectos Nacionales (National Goods). Nine types of rebozos are mentioned, each one with a brief description of the materials, techniques and/or production locations, their availability in the market and their price. We present documentary information to back up our attribution proposals, as well as discussing their implications. However, it is fundamental and vital to note that none of the nine descriptions in the chart uses any word that suggests that they are made with the “jaspe” (ikat) technique, even when practically all but one of the cases it is inferred that they are.