The Mexican rebozo originated in colonial times, and is a piece of clothing extensively used by Mexican women today. The rebozo is square linen that is used to cover the upper body and head. It is used to carry babies in traditional Mexico, and more recently around the world. It is also a luxury garment used for special celebrations.
In history, Fray Diego Duran mentions them for the first time in the XVI century saying that rebozos were knitted in Oaxaca with cotton and silk. To this elegant garment, knitters would add metallic threads and other ornaments to make a luxury complement for affluent women of the time.
The rebozo is a part of Mexican history. In 1757 there was a law that legislated over the size, knitting, thread class and design. Following Roman Catholic traditions, the Virgin of Angustias was named the saint to advocate for the knitters of rebozos : las rebozeras.
The most traditional Mexican rebozos used to be from Sultepec in today's State of Mexico knitted with a waist loom as early as 1573 when Diego Cortes Chimalpopoca was Cacique of the region.
In Puebla, you can find the famous golden rebozos of tafetan, which is a silk, weave with a specific pattern of threads.
In Saltillo, you can find the traditional "saw teeth" design which is the same style used in Mexican Serapes.
Classical rebozos are made out of cotton and silk. They are decorated using a technique called marbling (jaspeado in Spanish). This old fashion way of dyeing, consists of making knots in sections of the threads so that the color does not impregnate consistently. The technique gives a beautiful irregular marbling or stripe appearance exposing the tint and the natural color of the fiber. After the knitting, the threads from the side are tied making a nice design or maybe a phrase.
Today's elegant Mexican rebozos are knitted by:
The Matlatzincas from Tenancingo in the State of Mexico.
The Purepechas from La Piedad, Zamora and Tanganicuaro in the State of Michoacan.
The Nahuas from Chilapa in the State of Guerrero, and
The Otomis from Santa Maria del Rio in the State of San Luis Potosi.
In 1951, in Santa Maria del Rio, it was founded the school of rebozo knitting to maintain the tradition that was disappearing. They master the marbling or jaspeado technique, and create authentic pieces of art. For example the one color silk rebozo with amazing beauty and elegance.
Here are some of the fashionable uses for a rebozo :
Rebozo from Santa Maria del Rio, Mexico - As an accessorie
Rebozo from Santa Maria del Rio, Mexico - As a blazer
Rebozo from Santa Maria del Rio, Mexico - As a top
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