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. Limited edition silk screen on paper
Published by Pocohontas Press, Chicago
1941, 16"h. x 13"w. 
Seven separately printed colors
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  Chinantecs of the State of Oaxaca
     
  The Chinantec region occupied by the Mixtec-Zapotec group is situated in the northern part of the state of Oaxaca. The principal towns are Valle Nacional and Chinantla from which the tribe derives its name. These Chinantec Indians who preserve a language and customs of their own are the most important people in the state.

Their dress, especially that of the women, is extremely colorful as may be seen in Plate 14. The full blouse or huipil is as lavish in embroidery, as it is simple in cut. The front and back of the central panel are worked in punta de cruz (cross-stitch) with beautiful conventionalized floral patterns in vermilion, rose, and magenta on the white ground of hand-woven cloth.

The most brilliant huipiles are made in the western part of the Chinantec district—at Usila known for its rich needlework; at San Pedro Sochiapan famous for its embroidered flowers, birds, baskets and varied devices; at Valle Nacional which produced the costumes pictured in Plate 14, and at the towns of Chiltepec, Mayultianguis, Tlatepusco, Zapotitlán and Quetzalapa. The Yetla region specializes in huipiles with primitive interpretations of flora and fauna worked in shades of red, blue, violet and sometimes yellow. The fabrication of huipiles is declining from day to day in the Chinantec world as civilization advances and destroys this enchanting manifestation of folk art.

The full skirt of the Chinantec costume, pleated in front, is often white—or occasionally red—and without ornament. At times the women wear their hair in pigtails, at others wound around the head in the rodete style, which dates back to ancient times.

As to some df the details regarding this clothing, thread is carded in a primitive fashion by women with a malacate (or malacatl) and woven on the otate. The beautiful decoration of conventionalized floral patterns is applied in punta de cruz with the fabric stretched on a frame. The neighboring Triques and Mazatecs wear costumes of similar style though the type of embroidery used by the latter differs in that it is of a more free character, following the fancy of the needlewoman rather than adhering to the more rigid Chinantec formula.

Carlos Merida

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