Serape

Date: 1800–1850

Geography: Mexico, Mesoamerica, Coahuila, Saltillo

Culture: Saltillo

Medium: Wool, cotton

Dimensions: H. 94 3/4 x W. 51 3/4 in.

Classification: Textiles-Woven

Credit Line: Gift of Sally Hart Sheehy, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.471.1

Description

The Saltillo serapes of northern Mexico are among the most flamboyant textiles woven in North America during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Long associated with use by horsemen—which accounts for their considerable size—they took on nationalist overtones after Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821. Horse culture and its accoutrements, from fine horse to fine serape, became distinctively and visibly Mexican, with Saltillo serapes being the epitome of the male fashion. Saltillos are named for the town in the Mexican state of Coahuila where many were made. Their consistent design, with its central diamond motif, appears to have been based on numerous sources as yet not fully defined.

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