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Posts Tagged ‘tapetes’

When it seems as if we are surrounded by fear, hatred, and violence, it’s good to step back, look around, and remind ourselves that there is also generosity, love, and beauty in this world.  And so I give you my exquisite new mohair tapete (rug), custom woven for me by Antonio Ruiz Gonzalez.  It turned out even more beautiful than I imagined!

Antonio Ruiz Glz. and family standing in front of rug

Here is Antonio (on the left) in front of my new rug with his delightful family, including his brother Sergio (on the right) — from whom I’ve bought several small tapetes.  More about the latter, later!  Should you find yourself in Teotitlán del Valle, do stop by the family workshop (Av. Juárez No. 107), where Antonio, Sergio, and their father Zacarías weave their magic.

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Lunes Santo (Holy Monday) in Teotitlán del Valle provided another moving and memorable experience.  For some unknown reason, the village re-enacts the 14 stations of the cross on the Monday before Easter.  Following a special early morning mass at the Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo, statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary are hoisted on platforms and carried from the church to signal the start of the day-long pilgrimage.  They are led by a band playing a mournful and dissonant tune as they set off to wind their way through the cobblestone streets of Teotitlán.

“Stations” are set up along the route by designated families — some are decorated with the village’s famous woolen tapetes (rugs).  Tamales, non alcoholic beverages (alcohol, even the ubiquitous mezcal, is forbidden during Semana Santa), and nieves (ices) are offered at others.  At all, the appropriate prayers are read, incense of copal is burned, and offerings, including of corn and lilies, are made.  And, as always, children have important roles to play.

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The procession is solemn and dignified and filled with pre-Columbian, along with Catholic, tradition and symbolism.  Like all the other ritual celebrations in Teotitlán del Valle, these are not performed for the benefit of tourists — they are some of the strands of the warp and weft that have woven this community together for thousands of years.

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Samuel Bautista Lazo is one of the smartest, joyous, and Zen-like people I know.

Sam sitting cross-legged in a natural alcove in the mountain

Sam is my young, previously mentioned, Zapotec friend who is getting his Ph.D. in Sustainable Manufacturing at the University of Liverpool.  Sam is from Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, a village watched over by El Picacho, the sacred mountain — whose presence is unmistakable and palpable.

El Picacho

The village is known for its traditional performances of the Danza de la Pluma (about which I’ve posted on numerous occasions) and their skillful and creative weavings with wool.  Like a majority of its Zapotec residents, Sam and his family weave — father, Mario Bautista Martínez; mother, Leonor Lazo González; and brother, Celestino Bautista Lazo.

Sam and his family pose in their yard

The family was featured last year in an article, The Crafts of Oaxaca, posted on the Lark Crafts website.  Like many others, on my first visit in 2007, I couldn’t resist buying a couple of tapetes (rugs), including this one, which now serves as a welcome to all who enter my little casita.

Tapete on floor: geometric patterns in rust, beige, agua

A friend and I returned six months later and had the privilege of climbing to the top of El Picacho with Sam.

Sam on top of El Picacho

And no, I did not join Sam in leaping from one rocky peak to the other!

Looking forward to your return, Sam!

(ps)  Here is a Dixza video of  Sam from 2008, where he discusses the interpretation of the symbols and patterns woven into Zapotec rugs.  You might also want to check out others in his Dixza series from Teotitlán del Valle.

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