Textiles  of the North American Southwest
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Hispanic Pictorial Weaving
Irvin Trujillo
Chimayó, New Mexico

Catalog Information
Matachines Dance

The Matachines dance began in medieval Spain, where it dramatized the conflict between Christians and Moors. When the Spanish arrived in the Americas, they used it to encourage Indians to convert to Christianity. It was first performed in central Mexico and then brought north where it became part of both Hispanic and Indian life. Although Hispanic and Indian versions of the dance share many elements, each community performs and interprets the dance in its own way.

Not all Matachines dances include a representation of Malinche but in those that do, she is a central figure. The name Malinche comes from Malintzin, an Indian woman who converted to Christianity and became Hernán Cortés's advisor and mistress. In this 16th-century drawing Malintzin is wearing a woven cape. Hernán Cortés is seated to her right.

Above: Lienzo de Tlaxcala, manuscrito pictórico mexicano de mediados del siglo XVI, Próspero Cahuantzi, editor, plate 24. Mexico City, Librería Anticuaria G.M. Echaniz, 1939


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