Clothing of the Mayans: how they dressed and what was their importance

Clothing of the Mayans: how they dressed and what was their importance

The Mayans were (and are) one of the inhabitants of Mesoamerica. Region that includes the current countries of Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras, among others. Its presence in the area is estimated to date from the late Pleistocene or ice age (around 1000 BC).

And since then there were, among them, social classes, which were differentiated by the use of certain clothing, jewelry and ornaments. So, how did they dress and what was their importance. Here, a review.

How did the Mayans dress?

The clothing of the Mayans is made with specific materials and colors, depending on the status and gender of each person, so it was part of their identity.

In Mayan mythology there are numerous references to their typical clothing. For example, many deities made their creations with looms and the fabrics were considered gifts that the goddess of the Moon, Ixchel, had made to women.

That is why weaving and embroidery were mainly female tasks.

Among the typical garments that were used were loincloths, skirts and skirts, for the waist. The sandals, ribbons and shin guards, for the feet. The breastplates, cloaks, shoulder pads and necklaces, for arms and torso. And the hats, crowns and ribbons to hold the hair.

To make them, the Mayan women used leather, cotton, fabrics, skins, wooden ornaments, seeds, feathers, bones and precious stones. As the Mayans revered and respected nature, all the supplies to make it came from it.

How the working class dressed

Vestimenta de los mayas: cómo se vestían y cuál era su importancia

In general, the lower classes were dedicated to agriculture, so they wore a short skirt called "pati", which allowed them to move easily in the fields, and left their torso uncovered. Some workers adorned their patí loincloth with colorful embroidery.

The women, for their part, wore long skirts and wide shirts made of cotton (huipiles) and covered their shoulders with colorful scarves. Their shirts were decorated and embroidered with flowers and cheerful colors. In addition, their sandals, made of deerskin, differed from those of men in being thinner.

Both they and they sometimes painted themselves: the women put paint on their faces, while the men painted their skin black until they got married.

How did the upper class dress?

The nobles used clothes embroidered with feathers or stones, in addition to wearing large belts, wearing leather sandals and wearing gold jewelry. Some adornments on the head served to distinguish themselves, such as headbands, scarves or hats.

The rulers, for example, wore conical caps, crowns with gold, quartz and jade, while the warriors decorated themselves with medals and ornaments made of bones. The nobles, for their part, adorned their dresses with animal skins. The most used shades were yellowish and bluish.

According to Mayan cosmogony, yellow represented the color of snakes linked to hell and the dead, in addition to expressing equality with corn and the production of this food. Blue, on the other hand, was reserved for the gods because it represented the skies, rivers, seas and lakes.

Throughout its history, the Mayan civilization created sophisticated art forms and ritual calendars. Also, when the population settled in villages and built cities, it started the development of agriculture.

Currently, the persistence of the Mayan culture in the region from which it originates is reflected in the language, among other factors. For example, in the Yucatan peninsula, more than 800,000 people speak the Mayan or Mayan-Yucatecan language. This places it as the second indigenous language with the largest number of speakers in Mexico, after Nahuatl.

As of the Law of Linguistic Rights sanctioned in 2003, in that country the Maya-Yucatecan is recognized as the national language.



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