Le tissage traditionnel des femmes mayas Tz'utujil

Traditional weaving of Tz'utujil Mayan women

Author: Anne ALLOIN

The Mayanna association

It was in San Juan La Laguna, a village in Guatemala on the shores of Lake Atitlán, that I met Mayan women of the Tz'utujil Mayan ethnic group who practice traditional weaving. It was a real crush that gave birth to the Mayanna association.

Through this association I wish to provide my support to the women weavers of Guatemala so that they can live with dignity from their know-how while respecting their textile traditions. More recently I met Jean-Luc, the founder of TEA TRIBES, who suggested that I promote these creations from ancestral practices, through his brand. I am happy to have the opportunity to tell you, here, a little more about this other beautiful Mayan tradition.

The origins of the loom

According to legend, the “telar de cintura” loom has its origins with Ixchel, a Mayan goddess representing fertility and procreation. Ixchel taught the first woman to weave, and since then the practice has been passed down from mother to daughter, from generation to generation.

The ancestral technique of Tz'utujil Mayan women

The weavers use locally produced cotton thread. Guatemala is not well known for its cotton exports, yet the cultivation of this plant is one of the oldest in the country. Spinning cotton consists of holding the mass of cotton in one hand while the other rotates the spindle, the tip of which is placed in a small gourd which ensures its stability. It takes more than 16 hours of work to obtain a ball of thread.

Natural dye

It is then necessary to dye the threads. To do this, the weavers of this community use a process inherited from their ancestors: natural dyeing. Mayan women use the resources provided by their natural environment: turmeric, dried coconut shell, indigo, bougainvillea flowers, avocado pits and even coffee leaves. To fix the color, the artisans cut pieces of banana tree trunks which they macerate for 12 hours. The plants are brought to the boil and the threads are soaked in the preparation until the desired color is obtained. The skeins of dyed yarn are then air dried.


Before weaving, the women then carry out warping: the weavers use wooden stakes around which they wind the thread to form crisscrosses depending on the width, length and desired pattern. The weaver then uses all her creativity to create patterns and match colors. Once the warping is complete, it is now time to move on to weaving. The crisscrossing threads are ready to be mounted on the loom.

The end of the loom is attached to a tree creating a direct link with nature. The other end is wrapped around the back using a belt. The weaver adapts the tension by moving her back forward or backward.

Although rudimentary, the loom allows you to create a wide variety of patterns. The belt loom has been used for over two millennia by Mayan women. They do not use the straight pedal loom imported by the Spanish (this is generally reserved for

men) because women are the guarantors of the transmission of Mayan traditions.

Unique know-how

Mayanna offers accessories woven by these women with golden fingers. These creations are aimed at those who want to consume “differently” while respecting nature and the person who designed the object.

Let's act together so that Mayan weavers can live with dignity from their know-how.


TEA TRIBES offers you a Maya pouch for the purchase of a Mother's Day gift box + 1 Box of your choice (for yourself). Enjoy!


Website: https://www.mayanna-guatemala.com/

Instagram: @mayanna.guatemala

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