white background with black and red spots, large diamond shape in coral, pink, black, and yellow at C; red inner border with spots interlacing in diamond pattern; wide borders at short ends with red and navy blue thin stripes

Serape, c. 1900

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Cotton, pigmentsexpand_more

Gift of Elissa and Paul Cahnexpand_more  2017.127.17

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The serape is among the finest and most vibrant North American textile traditions. Produced as early as the 1500s, the serape has since undergone different styles and remains a popular item today. Despite its prominence in Mexican culture, relatively little is known about the textile’s origins and history. This textile’s production required great skill: until the early–mid 1900s, the serape was made up of two panels, each woven on a narrow loom, and then stitched together. To create the illusion of a single piece, the two panels had to be mirror images of each other. Serapes have long been used in a variety of ways, as rugs, shawls, wall hangings, saddle blankets, and, when featuring a neck slit, ponchos. By the 1880s the serape displayed distinct regional styles in Mexico and was highly sought after by American tourists. The serape also became a source of inspiration for Navajo and Rio Grande weavers, and imitations of the textile were printed and sold in Germany.

Details
Title
Serape
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2017.127.17
Curator Approved

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white background with black and red spots, large diamond shape in coral, pink, black, and yellow at C; red inner border with spots interlacing in diamond pattern; wide borders at short ends with red and navy blue thin stripes