María Ruíz Gómez, Ajilhó, Chiapas

María Ruíz Gómez, Ajilhó, Chiapas

María Ruíz Gómez lives in the Tzotzil Maya community of Ajilhó in the municipality of Bochil where she and her family works with bordados (embroidery) the traditional manta (cotton) blouses or huipiles as well as blouses for tourists. María's mother is pictured to the right.

A huipil is a straight slip-over one-piece garment that is made by folding a rectangle of material end to end, sewing up the straight sides but leaving openings near the folded top for the arms, and cutting a slit or a square in the center of the fold to furnish an opening for the head, is often decorated with embroidery, and is worn as a blouse or dress by women in Mexico.

The area is beautifully green thanks to the abundant rains and fog whipping through the mountains. The larger town of Bochil is located a few kilometers down the mountain in the valley.

The easier way to reach the area is via Chiapa de Corzo by Highway 195. It is an hour drive on a curvy road. When you near Bochil, there is a community on the left called EL Copal. Turn left, go through EL Copal to the next village. When you reach Ajilhó´s church, ask for María. The house is on the right is the school. The way to San Cristóbal is magnificent but unfortunately the road is pretty poor and usually foggy and wet.

The men are farmers in this coffee growing area. The women use various types of manta to make the traditional blouses and embroider them with Maya designs reminiscent of those of San Andrés Larráinzar. Some they use themselves, some are to sell to the tourist trade in Tuxtla or San Cristóbal.

The embroidery can be done with acrylic or cotton thread. Some designs are very rustic and others are extremely fine. The younger women do the finer embroidery. The older ladies usually work with the thicker acrylic thread because their sight does not allow them to do the extremely fine stitches any longer.

Maria works with her mother and some of her women relatives in the village.

The traditional costume is made of navy blue wrap-around skirts and wide red belts with a manta embroidered huipil.

No street address

Municipio Bochil

Ajilhó, Chiapas

919 129 4078 cellphone