The colonial town of Valladolid in Yucatan has a new museum to visit if you are interested in Mexican culture. El Museo de Ropa Etnica de Mexico or Mexican Ethnic Clothing Museum (MUREM) showcases traditional clothing worn in 12 different regions of the country.
The MUREM collection includes clothing worn by indigenous groups such as the Amusgo, Huastec, Chinantec, Yucatec, Tseltal and Tsotsil Maya, Mazahua, Mazatec, Mixtec, Nahua, Otomi, Tarahumara, Triqui and Zapotecs.
Embroidered cotton huipiles or dresses for everyday wear share space with splendid ribbon bedecked ceremonial dresses. Whatever their use, they are works of art full of color and creativity, decorated with designs featuring flowers, birds and animals or stripes, crosses and geometric shapes, symbols of the natural world and ancient beliefs.
There are brocaded blouses from Mayan communities in the highlands of Chiapas that are normally worn over black woollen skirts and tied with woven sashes. Each village has its own color and design and the styles have not changed that much in a thousand years. Other huipiles from Oaxaca, Yucatan and the central Mexican highlands also resemble the garments worn by women in pre-Hispanic times.
After the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century and the arrival of settlers from Spain, European fashions began to appear in Mexico, such as frills, lace, ribbons, shawls and fans. Many of Mexico’s most famous dresses show Spanish influence. They include lacy white dresses from Veracruz and colorful dresses worn in Campeche, Puebla and Jalisco.
Hats and headdresses, ribbons, traditional belts, shawls and jewelry complete the outfits on display and there is a collection of men’s clothing too. Other exhibits show contemporary items such as the masks worn by lucha libre wrestlers.
MUREM museum is located in Valladolid town center on Calle 41, No. 195, between Calle 38 and Calle 40. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and there is a shop selling Mexican crafts.
During a trip to Valladolid don’t miss the opportunity to visit Casa de Los Venados, a privately owned restored colonial home that has a collection of over 3,000 pieces of Mexican folk art on display. The exhibits include giant trees of life, colorful wooden and papier mâche alebrijes, clay figurines, jaguar carvings, Day of the Dead sculptures, Talavera ceramics, textiles and paintings by Mexican artists. Guided tours are available at 10 a.m., the admission is a donation to charity to support community projects in Valladolid. Location: Calle 40 No. 204 x 41, just off the main square.
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