Latin American

Girl’s Skirt and Blouse

Artist: Unknown
Culture/People: Tarahumara/Raramuri
Place: Chihuahua, Mexico
Media: Muslin with red piping
Dims: Blouse: 11.75 x 28.75 in. (29.37 x 71.87 cm), Skirt: 19 x 38 in. (47.5 x 95 cm).
Date: c. 2004
RTC No: LA0023
Gift of Edward J. Guarino, 2017. In memory of Kathleen Guarino-Burns.


The materiality of Raramuri clothes, in particular women’s dresses, is deeply symbolic. During centuries of attempted assimilation by Franciscan and Jesuit missions to western Chihuahua state, the Raramuri’s relationship to identity shifted. Religious conversion is tied to being viewed as other and discrediting the pre-contact culture. The Jesuit priests made Raramuri women wear dresses that fully covered them. However, resistance was seen in the Indigenization of these clothes. Today those very same clothes, woven of imported cotton, are made in patterns and forms solely Raramuri. This piece was bought and likely woven, within my life of twenty years. Yet it tells of its weaver’s hundreds of years of colonization–the silence forced onto its wearers and the loud resistance of ownership and pride of culture. Learning and deconstructing my own viewpoints as one of the Mestizos shows the power of this piece.

To Read More about Loya’s personal experience: The Voice Woven Into My Sister’s Clothes…

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