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Royal Ontario Museum to display ancient Mexican textiles
Apr '15
Some 150 textile exhibits, created in Mexico between 18th and 20th centuries, will be on display at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Ontario, Canada from May 9th, 2015 to May 23rd, 2016.

Dubbed as ‘¡Viva México!’, the exhibition will offer an insight into the North American nation’s colourful indigenous and colonial past as well as rich culture.

The event aims to explore the constant evolution of Mexican artistic traditions which were impacted by major historical events such as the pre-Conquest era and post Spanish conquest in 1519.

“This exhibition will create awareness of Mexico in Canada, helping contrast the country’s past with its modern and sophisticated present. We expect many will be inspired to travel to Mexico for their next vacation,” Amb Mauricio Toussaint, the general consul of Mexico in Toronto, said while commenting on the event in a press statement.

The exhibit guest curator and ROM’s textile research associate, Chloë Sayer, said, “When I first visited the ROM as a Veronika Gervers Research Fellow in 2010, I quickly realized that the collection of Mexican textiles and costumes was first-rate. I’m thrilled that I can help share this vibrant collection with the public.”

Some of the exhibits include post-Conquest ceremonial outfits with elaborate lace headdresses, beautifully woven rebozos (women's shawls) and dazzling patterned sarapes (men’s wool outer garments) from the 18th and 19th centuries, 20th century costumes and some impressive contemporary styles.

Also short films featuring interviews by the curators with skilled artisans as they spin, dye thread, weave and embroider the stunning Mexican pieces have also formed a part of the display.

The evolution of Mexican clothing styles reflects the history of Mexico, where the textile arts reach back over many centuries. In pre-Conquest times, the splendid garments of the elite served as symbols of high status. When the Spanish conquistadores arrived in 1519, they were immensely impressed by the accomplishments of spinners, dyers, weavers, embroiderers, and feather workers. After the Conquest of 1521, European skills, raw materials, garment styles and design motifs were adopted, merging with those of indigenous societies. Over time, this fusion has given Mexican textiles their immense range and visual appeal, with distinctive styles of dress drawing on a variety of textile techniques.

Approximately 60 languages are still spoken by the descendants of Maya, Aztec and other ancient cultures, and fine textiles remain central to the everyday and ceremonial lives of many communities in rural Mexico. Contemporary makers combine traditional elements with modern materials, keeping clothing and ornament alive as a vital form of cultural expression. (PB)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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