Angelica María Vásquez Grupo de Artesanas Los Girasoles Chenelhó, Chiapas

Angelica María Vásquez
Grupo de Artesanas Los Girasoles
Chenelhó, Chiapas

Chenalhó is one of the large municipalities in the highlands of Chiapas, a Tzotzil land since pre-Hispanic times. It has had many conflicts with neighboring municipalities and is highlighted by the Acteal massacre in 1997, where 45 people, mostly women and children lost their lives. It is a market town for the surrounding communities, which is dedicated to agriculture.

The city of Chenalhó is located in a beautiful valley, surrounded by forests, corn fields, small coffee plantations and orchards. The people live from agriculture and handicrafts. The men farm, while most of the women augment the family income through sales of their handicrafts. Many of the women weave and embroider. The original clothing was made of woven cotton decorated with wool and cotton brocade. Today, most of the clothes are made with acrylic yarn and cotton, using the waist weaver. Most huipiles are blue or purple. Women still wear long skirts held up by large belts. They also wear white capes made of cotton or tergal and embroidered with acrylic threads in red or orange colors. They make simple blouses made of blanket and embroidered with Mayan symbols. The most represented symbols are the four cardinal points of the Mayan universe.

As Chenalhó is the largest municipality in the area, it has received several groups of refugees who have settled in its area. Most of the refugees have had to leave their place of origin due to religious or earthly conflicts, and are now fully integrated into the community. As a result, their women embroider designs from other areas and it is common to see blouses from Chenalhó made with traditional Chamula stitches, for example. It is increasingly difficult to identify the origin of the embroidery.

Angelica Vasquez Perez is a Tzotzil woman who heads a group of 46 women called Grupo de Artesanías Girasoles. They weave traditional huipiles, as well as modern blouses and brocades, or embroider them according to the style of the blouse. Each woman works out of her home and the group meets according to their needs. Many women cannot go out and sell, so a few are chosen to travel and sell the products of the whole group.

Doña Angélica taught all her daughters to use the backstrap weaver and to embroider. One of them, Claudia, was chosen for her outstanding embroidery to work on the belt of the world boxing champion. She embroidered the original belt and also made a replica for the handicraft museum in Tuxtla located at the Instituto de la Casa de Artesanías de Chiapas.

Grupo de Artesanas Los Girasoles

Av. Emiliano Zapata #34

Chenelhó, Chiapas

967 127 1373 cellular Whatsapp