How it all Started!
At the beginning of the 15th century the Zapotecs settled in the valleys of Oaxaca and began weaving for clothing purposes, shawls, skirts and shirts etc and were made from threads obtained from cotton, cuyuchi, and pochote flowers. The clothes were woven on back strap looms, and it wasn’t until the Spanish arrived between the 16th and 17th centuries that the tools used for weaving were changed. With the arrival of the Spanish the Zapotecs became familiar with weaving with sheep’s wool, the spinning wheel and the horizontal foot loom. The person who has more specifically be attributed with introducing these tools to the Zapotecs is the Dominican priest Zarate. The Zapotecs devised and made a simple version of these tools and incorporated them into their own historical style of weaving and that gave birth to the rug weaving tradition.
About the Designs
The designs that were incorporated into the designs reflected the symbols and shapes of the secular and ceremonial art of the pre-Hispanic Zapotec civilization and this has been continued until the present day. The predominant motifs visible in weavings from El tono de la Cochinilla are, the ‘Greca’ (A stepped fret – which is the symbol of the ‘Step of Life’), the Zapotec Diamond (The symbol of the sun), and the ‘Caracol’ (‘Snail’ in English, and is the symbol for life and nature). All of these motifs can be seen in the stonework of the Zapotec temples of Monte Alban and Mitla, and even in some of the stones behind the Church in the village.
Let's get in touch!
If your interested in learning more about us please send us a message and we will get back to you with the answer to any questions that you have. Also, with prior notice we can give you a tour of our workshop with a demonstration of the processes involved in making our rugs.