Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art
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Hats

MALENI CRUZ Uc
Hats, 1998
Woven jipi palm
Becal, Campeche
 
Of all Mexican folk arts, the weaving of plant fibers has probably changed the least. The basic tools are hands, feet, teeth, a needle for joining, and vast reserves of patience and skill. A wide variety of plant material, including agave, palm fronds, straw, reeds, and twigs, is woven, coiled, and knotted to produce nets, hammocks, baskets, mats, boxes, toys, cages, and furniture. Dried flowers are also used to embellish angels, Madonnas, Nativity scenes, and other religious images

The availability of specific plants in certain areas of Mexico has produced several regional specialties. In the Yucatán and Campeche, palm is used to produce “Panama” hats. In the North, the Seri Indians of the Sonora coast and desert make coritas from thin strips of a bush called torote. The baskets are made by tightly sewing coils of fiber. When wet, the fibers expand and allow the baskets to be used to hold water.
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